Player: "I just created a brand new character for our new homebrew campaign. They are a Tiefling Warlock and their patron is a powerful devil from the City of Brass in the Elemental Plane of Fire."
Game Master: "That's wonderful! I can't wait to meet them in the game. And what gender are they?"
There used to be a time in roleplaying games where the only allowable answer to that question was either male or female. Of course, at the same time, the only allowable answer to that question in the real world also happened to be only male or female.
But the times, they are a-changin'.
In Part 1 of this month-long series, we mentioned how the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969, led to the first Pride Celebration in 1970 and began a decades-long quest for the advancement of LGBTQIA+ civil rights. While the civil rights movement and annual celebrations became synonymous with Gay rights and Gay pride, it is quite frequently forgotten that it was transgender women such as Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major who led the charge during those early days.
In the proceeding decades, advances in LGBTQIA+ rights have seen both victories and numerous defeats. Some of those victories include the right for people to marry one another regardless of gender, the availability of medical care regardless of gender identity, and in many states, the right to choose a gender designation other than male or female on state issued identification like driver licenses.
An additional major advancement is the inclusion of genders other than just cisgender -- male or female -- in roleplaying games. Now players are able to choose genders for their characters such as transgender, non-binary, intersex, fa'afafine, agender, and yes, even cisgender, among numerous others.
Regardless of a player's sexual, romantic, or gender identity, we can now create playable characters (PCs) who are just as unique as we, the players, are. Depending on the unique combination of these three different identity types, characters start to become even more real in the minds of every storyteller at the game table. Using the very popular streamed games produced by the team at Critical Role, we can very quickly see how the sexual, romantic, and gender identities of the characters can further enhance a storyline as developed cooperatively with the Dungeon Master (DM) or Game Master (GM).
Another wonderful benefit of choosing sexual, romantic, and gender identities for your PCs, especially when you choose identities that are different from your own (the player's), is the chance to learn about the many identities which are different from your own.
A very common misconception regarding gender is that there are only a few possible genders: cisgender male, cisgender female, transwoman, transman, and the general catch-all, gender non-conforming. As you are about to discover, there are more than 150 known gender identities around the world, and new, and sometimes older, gender identities are discovered and even re-discovered on a frequent basis. Transgender (umbrella term) individuals have been in existence for more than a few thousand years, but it has only been within the last several decades that we finally have a way to name and describe the various gender identities that are experienced everyday. The wonderful thing about gender is that there isn’t any one way to experience gender. Each individual -- and this includes our PCs -- through their own experiences as they learn to understand themselves, may either settle on a specific gender identity early on in their search for self-identity, or they may work through their understandings of several gender identities until they finally arrive at one (or more) gender identities that they feel uniquely applies to them. So, please take time to read through this list of identities and don’t be afraid to experiment with them until you discover one (or more) that uniquely applies to you or your playable character.
A gender that is profound, deep, and infinite; meant to resemble when one mirror is reflecting into another mirror creating an infinite paradox
A gender which refuses to be categorized
A gender that is influenced by your surroundings
A gender that is derived from an aesthetic; also known as videgender
A gender that is affected by mood swings
The feeling of no gender/absence of gender or neutral gender
Being agender and having fluctuating feelings of masculinity of femininity, but NOT male or female
A gender that is fluid between more than one gender, but the individual cannot tell what those genders are
A gender which is removed from common gender descriptors and guidelines
A gender that changes depending on who you’re in love with
Defined as having the feeling of two genders simultaneously without fluctuation; meant to reflect the concept of being ambidextrous, only with gender
Identifying as both man and woman, yet neither at the same time
A gender that changes depending on which friend you’re with
Sometimes used in the case of “androgynous presentation”; describes the feeling of being a mix of both masculine and feminine (and sometimes neutral) gender qualities
Feeling like a certain gender yet being more comfortable identifying with another
A desire to be without primary sexual characteristics, without necessarily being genderless; one may be both angenital and identify as any other gender alongside
A gender that fades in and out but always comes back to the same feeling
A gender that is unknown to both yourself and others
A protean gender which has the potential to be anything, but is formless and motionless, and therefore, does not manifest as any particular gender
A gender that is affected by anxiety
A feeling of apathy towards one’s gender which leads to them not looking any further into it
A gender where you know what it isn’t, but not what it is; the gender is hiding itself from you
Coined in 2014, from Greek apo, apor “separate” + “gender.” A nonbinary gender identity and umbrella term for “a gender separate from male, female, and anything in between while still having a very strong and specific gendered feeling” (that is, not an absence of gender).
In Ethiopia, the Maale people had a gender role called Ashtime, for assigned-male-at-birth (AMAB) eunuchs who live as women, though later this became an umbrella term for all kinds of gender non-conforming AMAB people.
A gender that feels bright and celestial
A gender that feels connected to space
A gender that can only be understood in the context of being autistic. Meant for autistic people only.
A gender experience that is deeply personal to oneself
When a person experiences two genders that sit on opposite ends of an axis; one being agender and the other being any other gender; these genders are experienced one at a time with no overlapping and with very short transition time.
An old word used by European-American anthropologists as an umbrella term for nonbinary gender roles in Native American cultures. The term was replaced by Two-Spirit in 1990 at an Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering. Some Native American people can reclaim the word “berdache” for themselves, but it should not be used by people who aren’t Native.
The feeling of having two genders either at the same time or separately; usually used to describe feeling “traditionally male” and “traditionally female”, but does not have to
A gender that feels connected to nature in some way
The feeling of having more than one gender that are somehow blurred together to the point of not being able to distinguish or identify individual genders; synonymous with genderfuzz
When one feels mostly or all male most of the time, but experience fluctuating intensity of male identity
In Albania, the Burrnesha, “sworn virgins,” are people assigned female at birth who have a masculine gender expression and role. This tradition goes back to at least the 1400s and is still practiced.
A gender that comes in intense bursts of feeling and quickly fades back to the original state
A queer masculine gender identity or expression, which some see as a nonbinary gender.
A gender which shares qualities with outer space or has the aesthetic of space, stars, nebulas, etc.
The feeling of gender is unimportant to you
When the level of indifference towards your gender fluctuates
For people with depression; when you feel one gender when not depressed and another when depressed
When your gender changes between one and its opposite
When you are ceterogender and your feelings fluctuate between masculine, feminine, and neutral
A nonbinary gender with specific masculine, feminine, or neutral feelings
The feeling of being the gender you were assigned at birth, all the time (assigned (fe)male/feeling (fe)male)
A gender that cannot be fully realized or seen clearly due to depersonalization/derealization disorder
The feeling of having too many genders simultaneously to describe each one
A gender associated with one or more colors and the feelings, hues, emotions, and/or objects associated with that color; may be used like pinkgender, bluegender, yellowgender
When you know you aren’t cisgender, but you settled with your assigned gender for the time being
A gender that is only felt during certain circumstances
From the Latin word delicia meaning “favorite”, meaning the feeling of having more than one simultaneous gender yet preferring one that fits better
The feeling of your gender being fluid throughout all the demigenders; the feeling of having multiple genders, some static and some fluid
The feeling of having multiple genders, some static and some fluctuating
A gender that is partially one gender and partially another
Demiboy. A gender identity that is male-like, or both male and genderless.
Demigirl. A gender identity that is female-like, or both female and genderless.
Having more than one gender yet one being more dominant than the others
Continuously drifting to other genders, feeling spiritually transcendental when doing so while having a clear, or slightly blurred, inner visual of your genders, transitions, and positive emotions. Tied to Demi-Smoke.
A transcendental, spiritual gender roughly drifting to other genders that are unable to be foreseen and understood, shrouded in darkness within your inner visual. Elevating through mystery. Caused by a lack of inner interpretation and dark emotional states. Tied to Demi-Vapor.
From the Latin word dura meaning “long-lasting”, meaning a subcategory of multigender in which one gender is more identifiable, long lasting, and prominent than the other genders
A gender that is so personal to your experience that it can only be described as “you”
Based on an initialism of “non-binary,” “NB”. A common noun for a person with a non-binary gender identity. This is the nonbinary gender equivalent of the common nouns “boy” or “girl.” Plural: enbies.
Sometimes used synonymously with the adjective “androgynous”; the feeling of either having or not displaying characteristics of both or either binary gender; sometimes used to describe feminine male identifying individuals
A gender that is related to being a spirit or exists on a higher or extradimensional plane
The outright refusal to accept or identify in, on, or around the gender spectrum
A gender that only exists or feels present when thought about or when a conscious effort is made to notice it
In Samoa, the Fa’afafine are people assigned male at birth who have a feminine gender expression, and who don’t think of themselves as female or male.
One of two binary genders where one feels fully and completely female; can and is used in conjunction with other gender labels and identities
Having fluctuating or fluid gender feelings that are limited to feminine genders
A queer feminine gender, which some use as a nonbinary identity.
A nonbinary gender which is feminine in nature
The feeling of being fluid between two or more genders that also fluctuate in intensity; a combination of genderfluid and genderflux
FTX or Female-to-X
Covering people who were assigned female at birth, and who identify as nonbinary or X-gender.
Originating in Turkey, and spreading to Europe, many of the ancient priestesses of the goddess Cybele were Gallae. The Gallae were eunuchs who were analogous to transgender women. Some see them as a nonbinary gender role. Today, some worshipers of Cybele call themselves Gallae. One of their temples is in New York.
Having two opposite genders that work together, being fluid and flux together
A gender that can only be described as a blank space; when gender is called into question, all that comes to mind is a blank space
A gender that is fluid between infinite feelings
The feeling of fluidity within your gender identity; feeling a different gender as time passes or as situations change; not restricted to any number of genders
The feeling of your gender fluctuating in intensity; like genderfluid but between one gender and agender
The feeling of having more than one gender that are somehow blurred together to the point of not being able to distinguish or identify individual genders; synonymous with blurgender
Having no gender identity. Syn. agender.
The feeling of having a neutral gender, whether somewhere in between masculine and feminine or a third gender that is separate from the binary; often paired with neutrois
A gender identity that actively resists gender norms
Originally used as an umbrella term for nonbinary individuals; may be used as an identity; describes a nonbinary gender regardless of whether the individual is masculine or feminine leaning
A gender consisting of the void (also/originally used to mean the same thing as genderless).
A gender in which one is intrigued or entranced by the idea of a particular gender, but is not certain that they are actually feeling it
When one feels mostly or all female most of the time but experiences fluctuating intensities of female identity
A gender that is very sensitive and fragile
A faintly shining, wavering gender
Having a gender that is mostly outside of the binary but is weak and can barely be felt
Having multiple genders but understanding none of them
A gender that once realized, brings lots of peace, clarity, security, and creativity to the individual’s mind
A gender that is warm and burning
A gender that is half one gender and half something else; one or both halves may be identifiable genders
In south Asian countries including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, the Hijra are people assigned male at birth who have a feminine gender expression. This is a very ancient tradition. Today, Hijra are legally recognized as a gender other than female or male.
A gender that changes over time with the core feeling remaining the same
A gender which shares qualities with water
A fluid gender that can be controlled by the individual
The feeling of gender falling somewhere on the spectrum between masculine and feminine. Meant for intersex people only
A feminine gender similar to girl, but on a separate plane and off to itself
A gender that feels agender but has a strong connection to another gender
A gender that is mostly gender and the rest is something else
In Hawaii, in the Kanaka Maoli society, the Māhū is a nonbinary gender role, made of people who can be either AFAB or AMAB. This tradition existed before Western invaders and survives today.
One of two binary genders where one feels fully and completely male; can and is used in conjunction with other gender labels and identities
A gender that is fluid in nature, and restricted only to masculine genders
A non-binary gender which is masculine in nature.
Taken from the word maverick; the feeling of having a gender that is separate from masculinity, femininity, and neutrality, but is not agender; a form of third gender
A gender that changes to fit the people around you
A gender that is soft, subtle, and subdued
MTX or Male-to-X
Covering people who were assigned male at birth, and who identify as nonbinary or X-gender.
The feeling of having more than one simultaneous or fluctuating gender; simultaneous with multigender and omnigender
Feeling a small part of one gender with the rest being something else
The feeling of having a neutral gender; sometimes a lack of gender that leads to feeling neutral
In North America, the Blackfoot Confederacy recognizes a gender called ninauposkitzipxpe, “manly-hearted women,” who are assigned female at birth, and occupy a gender role different from that of women and men.
Originally an umbrella term for any gender outside the binary of cisgenders; may be used as an individual identity; occasionally used alongside of genderqueer
The feeling of having more than one simultaneous or fluctuating gender; simultaneous with multigender and polygender
Being agender, but having recurring fantasies or daydreams of being a certain gender without the dysphoria or desire to actually be that gender day-to-day
The feeling of having every gender; this is considered problematic by some communities and thus has been used as the concept of relating in some way to all genders as opposed to containing every gender identity; only applies to genders within one’s own culture
The feeling very near one gender and partially something else which keeps you from feeling fully that gender
Identifying with a gender but not as a gender
The feeling of having more than one simultaneous or fluctuating gender; simultaneous with multigender and omnigender
A masculine gender similar to boy, but on a separate plane and off to itself
In Peru, the pre-colonial Incas recognized quariwarmi, a nonbinary mixed-gender role.
A reclaimed slur for the LGBT+ community, and an umbrella term for identities that are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender. Some people use this as the name for their nonbinary gender identity.
Feeling as if the concept of gender is inapplicable or nonsensical to one’s self
In ancient Egypt (Middle Kingdom, 2000-1800 BCE), there were said to be three genders of humans: men, sekhet, and women, in that order. Sekhet is usually translated as “eunuch,” but that’s probably an oversimplification of what this gender category means. It may also mean cisgender gay men, in the sense of not having children, and not necessarily someone who was castrated.
Mostly agender with a bit of another gender
Having a gender that is 100% one gender but with more of another gender added on top of that
A gender that is the sum of all the genders within a multiple or median system
A gender that stretches over the whole spectrum of genders
A transgender person who transitions in a feminine direction, but who doesn’t necessarily identify as female. They may have a non-binary gender identity.
Any gender identity that transcends or does not align with your assigned gender or society’s idea of gender; the feeling of being any gender that does not match your assigned gender
A transgender person who transitions in a masculine direction, but who doesn’t necessarily identify as male. They may have a non-binary gender identity.
A term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male or female at birth, but identify with neutral gendered feelings to a greater extent than with femininity or masculinity. It is used the same way as “transfeminine” or “transmasculine”, but for neutral feelings. It can be used to describe gendered feelings, or as a gender itself.
The feeling of having three simultaneous or fluctuating genders
Hundreds of cultures throughout North and South America have long had gender roles for those other than cisgender women and cisgender men. Internationally, “Two-spirit” is the agreed-upon modern English umbrella term for these gay, transgender, and nonbinary gender roles.
Vaguegender or Gendervague
A gender identity that is highly influenced by being neurodivergent, and feels undefinable or partly definable because of one’s neurodivergence. Specific kinds of vaguegender include vagueflux, vagueboy, and vaguegirl.
A gender that sort of feels like smoke; can be seen on a shallow level but once you go deeper, it disappears and you are left with no gender and only tiny wisps of what you thought it was
When two genders overlap creating an entirely new gender; like a venn diagram
A gender that seems to shift/change the moment it is identified
A gender that is usually one stable gender but will occasionally changes or fluctuate before stabilizing again
A gender that is weak or hollow
In Japan, this is a common transgender identity that isn’t female or male.
A nonbinary, neutral, and/or x-gender counterpart to FTM (female-to-male) and MTF (male-to-female).
In China, yinyang ren are people who have an equal amount of both feminine (yin) and masculine (yang) qualities. Usually this means gender nonconforming and bisexual, but can also mean transgender or intersex.