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Defining BiGender

The word bigender, which (legend has it) emerged from the transgendered community, is broadly accepted as the label for a person who manifests behaviors of either females or males at various times.

The word itself is composed of two sub-elements:

"bi", meaning twice, or two, and;

"gender", the term commonly encompassing one of the two reproductive roles, either male or female.

Since there are good labels for people who physically overlap anatomically (hermaphrodite, or androgyne), bigender's special job is to describe behavior, not anatomy. I submit, though, that a hermaphrodite or androgyne can also be bigendered - so could someone whose physical sexual characteristics are ambiguous (this happens a lot more than you might suspect… between 4 to 8 in every 1000 births - 0.4% to 0.8%)

So far bigender is not a term adopted and used in the medical/psychiatric world for diagnostic purposes. This blog entry is intended to shore up the existing definitions used in discussing gender identity and gender expression.

I’ll venture a little farther and suggest that one can be bi-sexual and be bigendered, but that bi-sexuals are not bigendered by definition.


What “bigender” should mean

My argument is that the term “bigender” should embrace those who behave in ways sterotypically associated with one or the other of the two polar genders. Now I’ll ask myself some questions (your turn later…)

Q: So, are cross-dressers bigendered?

A: Not necessarily. If a man dresses up to pass as a woman, and enjoys behaving as if he’s a woman, but then comes home after a day “out”, kicks back in a t-shirt and jeans and watches NFL football with a beer in hand, I’d say “yes.” If male cross dresses as a woman, and doe so everywhere he can (except maybe at work, church and family gatherings), and wishes he could really be a woman all the time, the the answer is “no.” That guy is transgendered. (The same is true, of course, for a woman who crossdresses to pass as a man. I’ll try to alternate my illustrations in this blog.)

Q: Are dykes, lesbian, gays, fairies, bears, etc. bigendered?

A: Probably not. They could be, but those terms I think apply to the third and fourth genders. There are “lipstick” lesbians who are perfectly femme, love other women, and have no interest in things masculine: not bigendered. Some lesbian woman call themselves “boi”, dress and carry themselves in a masculine way, and have no interest pretending they’re anything other than what they are: not bigendered. Do I need to repeat the rest of the illustrations. Being of the third and fourth genders does not obligate one to be bigendered.

Q: So gays, twinkies, bears, bois, and femmy lesbians can’t be bigendered?

A: I’m not saying that. I’m saying that those who’ve adopted those labels often belong to a culture that embraces and supports them in being what they call themselves. If anyone feels that they have and manifest the traits of both sexes, regardless of the sex of the person they exchange fluids with, they could be bigendered.


I know what I am - but am I bigender?

It’s not me that’s the problem - it’s finding the label that best expresses it. I’m getting used to thinking of myself as a male body being cohabited by male and female personalities.

I think the term is bigender.

I started thinking about myself this way in my teens, but it wasn’t until I wrote a novel and showed to a published author who asked me why my protagonist was female. She seemed to think I’d gotten the character right, and asked my why I had chosen to go that way. I quipped “I think I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.” So maybe I’m a lesboy… or a lesboyan?

Gay guys think I’m gay, and I would be if I didn’t find women so much more interesting. I was raised in house with four woman. 18 of my 23 cousins are female. I spent all my formative years with woman around, rarely spending time with boys. Put me at a cocktail party and I’ll gravitate to a cluster of woman and stand there like a doofus listening to them talk about men. I get it now. They must sense instantly - I’m more the hairdresser than the inseminator.

So now I’ve actually found that the woman living inside me is fully formed. She and the guy living next to her have different jobs and come out at different times. It’s not like I’m split personality though. I don’t change mannerisms or clothing (though that may soon change…) I’ve become accutely aware of the two extremes, and find that it’s hard to stay in the center.

So what do you call this? I think it’s “bigender.”