Transgender issues have increasingly popped up in news and media as TV shows like Orange Is the New Black and Transparent bring mainstream attention to trans people, but many Americans remain confused about the most basic aspects of gender identity and expression.
Sam Killermann, the social justice advocate behind the blog It's Pronounced Metrosexual, tried his hand at a clean explanation of the complicated topic, offering this adorable infographic (click to enlarge) inspired by a now-deleted Tumblr post:
The infographic explains how some people may identify beyond the expectations of society. Some identify with a gender different from the one assigned to them at birth, or as genderqueer, meaning they don't belong to any socially defined gender. Most people don't identify with only masculine or feminine qualities. Someone who identifies as gay might be attracted to women to a very small extent. Some bisexual people might have a slight preference for men over women. Others might not be attracted to anyone at all, identifying as asexual.
Still, there's one issue with the graphic: the category for biological sex. As the GLAAD media guide explains, a person's genetics or biology don't trump gender identity: trans people who identify as men are male, and those who identify as women are female. Especially as more studies show gender identity is a characteristic someone is born with, focusing on genetics too much can over-simplify the complexity of someone's identity and expression.
Update: Some trans advocates said they prefer the Gender Unicorn, a graphic from Trans Student Educational Resources: