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A question on Philosophy.SE required transgenderism to be defined in order to determine whether the notion conflicted with traditionally defined feminism.

In my answer, I quoted an online dictionary's definition of the concept and phrase gender dysphoria, defining it as:

The condition of feeling one's emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one's biological sex.

I noted that if the referenced “feeling” denotes a discrepancy between one’s behavioral predispositions and the behavioral dispositions deemed appropriate by society and culture to one’s biological gender (the supposedly socially constructed gender role of one’s biological gender), then there would arguably seem to be some conflict between transgenderism and feminism as defined by the interlocutor (arguably the traditional definition).

This answer was met with the following retort:

Your answer adheres to the anachronistic gender binary. There are plenty of gender non-binary trans folk. The dichotomy between "male" and "female" as opposed is false.

My response was that although I understood the notion of non-binary gender roles, I could not quite (hermaphrodites aside) make sense of non-binary gender, since that term is reputed to be synonymous with the term sex, generally defined in terms of reproductive functions.

On a hunch, I went to the Urban Dictionary and looked up the definition of androgyny and found it defined in terms of gender roles, not gender:

Androgyne: An individual who feels they do not properly fit into the gender roles ascribed by society to males and females. Often feels as though their gender is beyond the understanding of these limiting societal factors and seeks to free themselves from that which limits them by dress in androgynous clothing and attempting to appear on the outside as they feel on the inside.

I find myself embroiled in nascent ontological types, metaphysical categories; which suggests that I am at the cutting edge of language, where terms are in the process of being invented, usages prescribed — so prescriptive, rather than descriptive, notions tend to dominate (since very little empirical evidence exists) as new concept terms are being assigned extensions and connotations.

My specific questions are:

  1. Is sex a synonym of gender?

  2. If these terms are deemed to be distinct, what is the difference between the terms gender and gender role?

  3. Is there a difference in definition or usage between an androgyne and gender–non-binary trans-folk — and if so, what is it?

Any usage recommendations or definitions deemed relevant to this family of terms would be appreciated.

closed as too broad by curiousdannii, jimm101, user140086, BladorthinTheGrey, choster Dec 5 '16 at 7:07

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    There is a prior question about distinctions between sex and gender: What is the difference between “gender” and “sex”? – sumelic Dec 3 '16 at 21:25
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    One simple question: Whose definitions? No word in English has a single, absolutely positively true definition, and when you stray into the area of gender politics the diversity of definitions is even more marked. If you're going to attempt to apply a "logical" (in the formal logic sense) process to the definitions you must arbitrarily select some first. You will not find everyone in agreement with those definitions -- at best you can simply attempt to state them as clearly as humanly possible. – Hot Licks Dec 3 '16 at 21:42
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    @gonzo - Why come here? We can't even agree on what a pronoun is, in many cases. When dealing with language disagreement is a given. It's a question of how you deal with it. – Hot Licks Dec 3 '16 at 23:20
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    Specialists are picky about their terms of art, and the queer theorists and radical feminists are the ne plus ultra of picky specialists. To gain their trust, skim one of their favorite books and then say that you intend gender as [insert well-regarded figure] uses it in [possessive pronoun] seminal work [insert name of seminal work]. – jlovegren Dec 4 '16 at 0:43
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    Please read isna.org/faq/hermaphrodite – snailboat Dec 4 '16 at 1:10
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  1. No, but that's already been answered here. To summarize: sex is biological, gender is cultural.

    Most people have the same sex and gender, which is why a distinction isn't always made.

  2. Gender is something you have; gender roles are behaviors. Oxford Dictionaries defines gender role as:

    The role or behaviour learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms:
    'women's traditional gender roles translated easily into caring for the sick, and nursing became a female profession'

    Gender role conflict often happens to people who are not transgender (or, in other terms: cis).

    For example, female rugby players are women in a traditionally masculine role (rugby).

  3. You shouldn't be using Urban Dictionary unless you're looking for slang definitions. Use a real dictionary, like Oxford, which defines androgyne as:

    an androgynous individual.

    • a hermaphrodite.

    It should be clear, from that definition, that the difference between an "androgyne" and "gender–non-binary trans-folk" is the same difference between sex and gender.

    However, it's important to note what Nonbinary.org says about the term:

    Intersex is a physical sex, and androgyne can mean either that, or a gender identity.

    Under this definition, androgynes are one type of a nonbinary transgender person. (It's not very descriptive, since different people use it to mean different things.)

  • It should also be noted that "gender" is a syntactic concept in many languages. – Hot Licks Dec 3 '16 at 22:46
  • Thanx. Particularly for the reference to the prior duplicative question. By going there I discovered that there is actually a tag "gender v sex" in this stack which, though few questions are included, was instructive as to how this family of concepts have evolved over the past several years. By the way, I generally use online Oxford. In fact its where I dug up the definition of "gender dysphoria" that elicited the sharp retort described in my the question. I went to Urban because current slang is often more useful than semantics when defining evolving ontological commitments and usage – gonzo Dec 3 '16 at 22:51
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    You can't honestly tell me that when someone says, "that person is very androgynous" they are literally calling them a person with both sets of sexual organs... that's absurd. Your definition makes no allowances for actual usage. – Catija Dec 4 '16 at 0:04
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    @Catija You may not have realized the definition was for the noun androgyne, not the adjective androgynous. However, I have made it more clear what the definition was for. – Laurel Dec 4 '16 at 0:07
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    It's still not correct. Someone who is androgynous (an androgyne) appears to have indeterminate gender. A hermaphrodite Is both sexes. There's a huge difference. – Catija Dec 4 '16 at 0:12

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