People identify as a gender, based on factors that stretch beyond sex assigned at birth. There are more than two genders, though many societies define people as male or female. People may identify their gender as different than their sex based on their self-concept and how they feel. People can be more or less masculine, feminine, neither, or something else. A person’s gender identification is a more accurate representation of their gender than sex. Visual appearance is not always a clear indicator of a person’s gender identification. Evidence exists that biological factors influence gender identity, so this aspect is positioned in the people: self stack in the AoE4D Framework.
Researching Gender Identity
A person’s gender identity is based on how a person feels and perceives themself. Researching gender identity can give designers insights into how a person defines their own identity in their own words, despite their sex. Because gender identification can be viewed differently in some cultures—especially those that only espouse binary gender identities—researching gender identity can require special care. Still, empowering a person to define themselves despite social norms gives the person agency and recognizes their rights to feel like and be who they are.
Questions to Ask About Gender Identity
- How does this person define their gender?
- In what ways could this person be marginalized because of who they are?
Look for These When Researching Gender Identity
- A person shares their gender identification.
- The way a person dresses (be careful, what a person wears is not always a clear indication of their gender identity)
- How a person’s gender identification is a source of belonging or possibly a reason why they are shunned.