Gender Identity What Does It Mean to Be Bigender? By Ariane Resnick, CNC Ariane Resnick, CNC Facebook Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity. Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 28, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Monica Johnson, PsyD Medically reviewed by Monica Johnson, PsyD Dr. Monica Johnson is a clinical psychologist and owner of Kind Mind Psychology, a private practice in NYC specializing in evidence-based approaches to treating a wide range of mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, trauma, and personality disorders). Additionally, she works with marginalized groups of people, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and alternative lifestyles, to manage minority stress. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Jessie Casson / Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents History of the Term Bigender vs. Nonbinary Bigender vs. Bisexual Bigender vs. Androgyne Statistics How to Support Bigender People FAQ Someone may identify as bigender if they identify with both male and female genders. They might even identify with a third gender (aka trigender) or more. For example, someone who identifies as bigender may identify as both male and female. Being bigender means identifying with two or possibly more genders, and it is considered a nonbinary gender identity. A bigender person might always express one of their genders physically, at different times, or at once. Glossary of Must-Know Gender Identity Terms History and Origin of the Term 'Bigender' The term 'bigender' isn't all that old. Here's a look at the history of how this term entered our current lexicon. It Was First Listed Under the Term 'Androgyne' The term bigender was first recorded in July 1988 as part of the 2nd International Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation Conference. At this conference, it was included in the glossary of terms under the word androgyne. Androgyne was defined as "a person who can comfortably express either alternative gender role in a variety of socially acceptable environments (includes bigenderist)." The Term Bigender Has Roots in Botany The term bigender was added to the dictionary in relation to human gender in 2019. However, it was previously used to describe plants. That's because while some plants are distinctly male or female, others contain the characteristics of both genders. Terminology Is Always Evolving Jack Drescher, MD, Past President of the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, and recipient of the 2022 Sigourney Award, tells Verywell Mind that "since there are many other gender identities besides male and female, it is hard to come up with a one size fits all definition for people who identify as bigender." Gender Exists on a Continuum Our language has yet to catch up with our understanding of how people identify. Monica Johnson, PsyD, of Kind Mind Psychology, explains that "as we continue to deepen our understanding of gender and sexuality and acknowledge that [gender exists] on a continuum, we will continue to develop terminology so that we can have a shared language around the lived experiences of ourselves and the other humans we interact with on this planet." Bigender vs. Nonbinary The term bigender falls under the umbrella category of nonbinary. While the term bigender is categorized as a nonbinary identity, a bigender person may not always identify as nonbinary. This is because being nonbinary means you don't identify with the sex you were assigned at birth, whereas being bigender means you identify with two or more genders. In other words, a bigender person may identify with the sex assigned at birth and one or more additional genders. Bigender vs. Bisexual Bigender and bisexual both start with the prefix "bi," meaning two, but bigender and bisexuality are not related. Bigender is a gender identity. The term bisexual is a sexual identity/orientation that describes the people you are attracted to and/or intimate with. To be bisexual means that you are attracted to men and women, and potentially other genders as well. Being bigender means identifying as two or more genders and identifying as bigender is unrelated to whom you are attracted. Bigender vs. Androgyne A bigender person identifies as two or more genders, whereas someone who is androgynous doesn't present as specifically male or female, or they may present as a mix of genders or appear gender neutral. Additionally, androgynous is often used as a term used to refer to how someone presents themself to the world, whereas bigender is an identity. How Many People Identify as Bigender in the United States? No specific research has been done to quantify how many people in this country are bigender, and both doctors note that accurate counts are unavailable. Our closest tool is the research conducted to discover how many people fall under the larger umbrella categories of trans or nonbinary. Statistics The percentage of people who fall into that category changes significantly with age. Approximately 5% of adults under thirty identify as trans or nonbinary, whereas only 0.3% of adults over 50 do. How to Support Bigender People Even if you don't have the same life experience as another person doesn't mean you can't support them. In fact, validating people's gender identities is important to prevent harm and enable others to have good mental and emotional well-being. Dr. Johnson notes, " it's important to acknowledge the existence of bigender people, support their perspectives and identified pronouns, and their rights to [the] authentic expression of their identities." Here are several ways you can support bigender people. Be An Ally The first step to being an ally is to understand the discrimination that others face and dedicate yourself to not being a part of it. In this situation, that includes misgendering people or denying them access to services because you don't agree with their gender. Additionally, being an ally means that you stand up for wrong in addition to not causing harm when you witness it. Monica Johnson, PsyD It's important to acknowledge the existence of bigender people, support their perspectives and identified pronouns, and their rights to [the] authentic expression of their identities. — Monica Johnson, PsyD Simply expanding your thinking is a great start to allyship. Dr. Drescher says that "gender identity always has a subjective quality to it. One consequence of the role of subjectivity is that we are seeing a growing number of gender identities which a growing number of it people are identifying with. These are cultural changes that make some people uncomfortable because they struggle with the binary definitions of gender that all of us start out learning as children. However, in the adult world, learning to live with a range of gender identities is the new normal." Ask About Pronouns The best way to ensure that you refer to someone in the manner that suits them is by asking. Ask a person their name and their pronouns in the same way, by being straightforward and judgment-free. If someone tells you they use multiple pronouns, ask if they prefer you mix up their pronouns or if they'd rather tell you when to use different ones. Nothing about it needs to be awkward; you wouldn't feel strange asking a person what their name is, and eventually, it will feel just as normal to ask someone their pronouns. Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions How should I refer to someone who identifies as bigender? When it comes to referring to someone who is bigender in the third person, you'll want to find out their pronouns. You should refer to a bigender person by whatever pronouns they want to be called. Where can I learn more about gender? Everyone can benefit from a better understanding of gender and how it can be expressed.You can learn more about gender with the help of these resources:Books: "Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference" and "Beyond the Gender Binary"Podcasts: If you prefer to listen rather than read, try "Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast" or "The Gender Rebels Podcast." A Guide to Understanding Gender Expansiveness 5 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. It Gets Better Project. Gender expansive, genderqueer, gender nonconforming. Dictionary.com. Bigender. Lesbian & Gay Health Foundation Conference. Abstracts Of a Symposium on Gender Issues for the 90s. It Gets Better Project. LGBTQ+ Glossary. Pew Research Center. About 5% of young adults in the U.S. say their gender is different from their sex assigned at birth. By Ariane Resnick, CNC Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.