Trigender is a gender identification in which one shifts between or among multiple genders including a third gender (genderless, a mix of masculine and feminine, or any other variety of genderqueer identities). A trigender person may transition from one gender to another depending on the individual's mood or situation. In contrast, someone who is gender fluid and identifies as trigender may feel that their gender is a combination of multiple genders happening simultaneously. Trigender falls under the general category of genderqueer or androgyny, a gender identity that goes beyond the normal binary gender system (male=masculine and female=feminine) and tends to be a catch-all place for non-typical gender identities. It can also be seen as the equivalent cultures that recognize individuals to define their own sense of self. It is commonly understood that the term "two-spirit" describes the cultural understanding of queer and trans experiences within some Native American nations.
In most Western or European societies this third sex differentiation is not so easily bestowed upon a person and in many instances, straying outside of the gender dichotomy becomes socially unacceptable. Western influence and Carolus Linnaeus' work that encouraged a categorization of life has led to marginalization for those outside of the heteronormative realm.
Gender is somewhat difficult to measure, leading to the common belief that sex and gender are the same. Research shows that pattens in gender behavior/thoughts/feelings can be identified in the brain. Trigender individuals, much like Bigender individuals often feel the need to "present" as the gender they feel like at the given time. Thus trigender people often live cisgender, presenting and "passing" in the gender role that matches their bodies, and other times as transgender because they present and pass in a gender role that doesn't match their biological body. Sometimes they will express themselves androgynously to avoid having to deal with complications of living as more than one gender. Some genderfuck by consistently expressing more than one gender at a time. Biological females who become pregnant choose to present as female during the whole duration of pregnancy due to the unwanted attention of being perceived as a "pregnant man". Bigender and Trigender people must undergo the process of learning to live as female and male culturally if they choose to express other genders. The May 2010 issue of Scientific American Mind is entirely on the social and biological constructs of gender expression and includes a small four page article in the back how studying transsexuals can bring greater insight into this field of study. The learning process of male and female cultural roles includes learning how to walk, talk, interact verbally and non-verbally, think, behave and more beyond just presenting the physical body as one gender or another.
As transgender children have started to get more media attention in the 1990s and 2000s, studies have tried to further understand transgender issues. Some College and University LGBTQ groups and alliances are increasingly finding their communities more gender fluid (and sexual orientation fluid) as well and less oriented towards traditional labels such as "gay", "bisexual", and "straight". The American Psychological Association and University of California, San Francisco recognize Bigender as a subset of the transgender community. In the UK, Polygender is a common term found on Transgender websites, forums, and support groups, as well as at the Scottish Transgender Alliance.
Sexual orientation usually stays the same, regardless of the gender a Trigender person feels like. Sexual orientation and gender constitute two different parts of the brain, therefore, gender and sexual orientation act independently of each other. What can become confusing is labeling. For example: an individual that is feeling and/or presenting as female and is attracted to females would be labeled "lesbian" by others (because they are a female attracted to females). But when they feel and/or present as male and their attraction to females still remains, they are often labeled "straight" by others (because they are now a male attracted to females). Some, but not all Trigender individuals feel that sexual orientation and labels are therefore irrelevant or too complicated. For them, what is more important is who their partner is as a person. Instead they put more emphasis on sexual orientations such as Pansexual or simply "a loving individual" or "equal opportunity lover". Some identify as bisexual and others are simply attracted to one sex or gender. People who are monosexual often use labels such as androphile or gynephile to avoid specifying their own gender, preferring to place emphasis on the gender of their attraction. People who are attracted to people of minority gender identities are sometimes called transromantic.
- Leslie Feinberg, Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink Or Blue, page 53-4, Beacon Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8070-7951-0, ISBN 978-0-8070-7951-5.
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- Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, "For the young, gender is fluid", Chicago Tribune, November 18, 2009.
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- May 2010 issue of Scientific American Mind
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- UCSF The Transgender Community Health Project February 18, 1999.
- Scottish Transgender Alliance
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