Not all people identify as male or female. Take a look inside the world outside the gender binary.

Some people fall outside of the classic male/female gender binary. They're still totally legitimate.

To a lot of us, the idea that gender extends beyond simply male and female can be confusing.

"It's a boy!" "It's a girl!" We're labeled with a gender as far back as the moment we were born.

But somewhere along the way, some people realize that terms like "male," "female," "man," "woman," "boy," and "girl" don't properly describe their own sense of self.


Some people simply don't fit neatly into those boxes — demonstrated here by YouTube jack-of-all-trades Lindsay Penn — and so many of them have sought out terms that more accurately describe who they are.

GIF via Lindsay Penn.

In May 2015, Dictionary.com added three new words to its database to help describe some of these nonbinary (not simply male or female) genders.

First, there's the word "agender," which is essentially someone without a gender at all.


Then there's "bigender," a term used to describe someone who may most closely identify with both male and female genders.

And then finally, there's "gender-fluid," used to describe someone whose gender shifts between male, female, and everything in between.

For a more thorough dive into these terms, check out the agender, bigender, and gender-fluid pages on Nonbinary.org.

If it sounds like these three terms are describing the same thing (at first glance, they certainly might), try thinking about it as though you're dividing blocks into groups.

If you look at this image, it's pretty easy to divide these blocks into groups according to color, right?

You've got two yellow, two red, and one orange. Right? It's simple.


But what if it's not always so clear cut? And what if instead of there being three colors to choose from, you had the option to select from hundreds?

You could still make the case that there are two yellow, two red, and one orange, but it's not quite accurate.

Because some colors (like #2 and #4) don't quite neatly fit into the previously arranged groups. # 2 is kind of a yellow-orange; #4 is kind of an orange-red.

Gender is a lot like that. Often, we simplify it into these clear-cut boxes: male and female. The issue is that not everyone fits those boxes, and that is OK.

Just as boxes #2 and #4 are no less real colors than #1 and #5, people whose genders don't fit neatly into the categories of male or female are no less valid than those who do.

Gender can be confusing. Just like the Doctor here explains time travel, gender is like that — just more ... gender-y.


GIF via BBC.

And just as boxes #2 and #4 are outside the main groups, they're still very different colors.

Agender, bigender, and gender-fluid identities are outside of the male-female binary, but are still distinct and different from one another.

Last year, Australian model and actress Ruby Rose came out as gender-fluid.

Rose did so after releasing a video called "Break Free" (seriously, watch it). In an interview with News.com.au, Rose said, “I am very gender fluid and feel more like I wake up every day sort of gender neutral."

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

But what if you're not sure what gender someone is? Don't worry about it.

You can't tell someone's gender just by looking at them. Gender isn't what kind of genitals you have. Gender isn't whether you act a certain way or dress a certain way. Gender is a core sense of self that someone has, and it might not line up with what you picture visually.

If someone tells you what gender they are? Great! Please take them at their word.

If they don't, and you're not sure? Don't worry about it.


More


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared