With so many gender terms that exists, it’s easy for some people to get confused which one to use. It’s nice that more people are open and accommodating of people with different genders, but as much as possible, you shouldn’t confuse certain terms for similar-sounding terms or terms with overlapping meaning as some terms may not completely apply to a person.
Which is why I’ve decided to start writing articles explaining the differences between terms that sound similar or terms that have similar meanings. In this article, I’m going to explain what “bigender” means and how it’s different from “genderfluid” (a term with an overlapping meaning), and similarly-sounding words like binary and bisexual. Hopefully, if you fall under the bigender definition, this article can help you explain to your friends and family the difference between your gender and other similar terms.
What Is Bigender?
A person who is bigender or bi-gender identifies with two genders. To further explain this better, let’s take a look at the gender spectrum. On one end, you have the cisgender males (which are biological males who identify as males), and on the other end, you have the cisgender females. In the middle of the spectrum, you have a wide variety of male and females who identify in a certain gender in between.
However, there are some genders that do not fall into that spectrum, and these are called non-binary genders. Non-binary is an umbrella term for genders for people who do not exclusively identify as male, female, or any gender under the spectrum. A person who does not identify with any gender under the spectrum can be called agender, genderless, or neutrosis – these three fall under the non-binary umbrella.
A person who is bigender also falls under the non-binary umbrella. They experience exactly two genders, but this doesn’t have to be limited to male and female and can be a combination of any two genders inside and outside the spectrum. It’s also possible to experience more than two genders, but this would make a person trigender.
Bigenders can choose to express either gender whenever they want. Some bi-genders partake as drag queens or drag kings because this allows them to express both their genders. However, not all those who cross-dress identify as bigender, since it’s possible for cisgender people to also cross-dress as an interest or hobby.
A bigender person will use whatever pronoun is fitting at the moment. If a bigendered person is dressed in female clothing, they will prefer to use “she/her” and “he/him” in male clothing. It’s also possible that their second gender is non-binary, so they might prefer “they/them/their” in such cases. However, given their dual gender, it’s possible that some bigenders will prefer any of the gender pronouns. For example, the popular gay drag queen RuPaul is seen in both male and female clothing. However, while we can’t say for sure if RuPaul identifies as bigender, he doesn’t mind the pronouns used to refer to him and uses he and she interchangeably.
A good example of this a bigendered person in pop culture is the character Whiterose from the TV series Mr. Robot. Whiterose is born a man and has two personas: the transgender woman who serves as the leader of the Dark Army and uses she pronouns; and the man Minister Zhi Zhang who is the male Minister of State Security for China who uses he pronouns. One could read this as Whiterose identifying as a transgender woman but disguising herself as a man to blend in, but if she sees both personas as herself, it’s possible that she identifies as bi-gender.
What Is Genderfluid?
The term genderfluid is used to describe bigender, trigender, and multi-gendered people who don’t conform to exclusively one gender and can switch to multiple genders depending on what they want to express themselves. The term doesn’t necessarily fall under either binary or non-binary genders because it may be possible for a person to switch between binary and non-binary genders.
What Is Bisexual?
The term “bisexual” does not refer to gender, but rather sexual orientation. Sex, gender, and sexuality all have different meanings, so it’s possible to be both bigender and also bisexual, but these do not have the same meaning.
A person who is bisexual is attracted to two or more genders, not just two despite the “bi” in the name. Some people might think that bisexuals are homophobic because the name implies that there are only two genders. However, this is not the case as bisexuals can be attracted to all genders.
This may seem to overlap with the term “pansexual,” since the definition of the term means attraction to all genders. However, there is a major difference that separates the two. A bisexual person can be attracted to someone partly because of that person’s gender. On the other hand, a pansexual person who is attracted to someone is attracted regardless of gender. This means that a pansexual person does not care about a person’s gender.
The terms “bigender” and “bisexual” can be confusing for some people because of the incorrect belief that sex and gender are the same. However, don’t think that you can use them interchangeably because they entail very different characteristics. A bigender person can identify as one gender on some days and then another gender the next day, but it’s possible for them to be attracted to only one gender. On the other hand, a bisexual person can be a cisgender male or female, transgender, non-binary, or a person of any gender who is attracted to all genders.
“Bigender” and “genderfluid” may seem like overlapping terms, but that’s because bigender is a type of genderfluidity. A genderfluid person can change their gender expression depending on several factors, so you may see them expressing one gender one day and another in the next.
By knowing the differences between these terms, you can use them more appropriately and make a person of a different gender feel welcome and acknowledged. Properly identifying and addressing a person by their correct gender is one of the first steps to normalizing the way society accepts the different genders that exist and fighting gender bias.