Use of Language in Biology (Gender and Sex)

Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person.

Gender is a social construct, humans made it up! Globally, there are hundreds of cultures with multiple gender identities. You can learn more with help from this Gender Unicorn

Here is a video that may increase your understanding – Expressing Myself, My Way

So what does sex mean in Biology?

Your textbook says a biological female is XX and a biological male is XY. In reality, there is a lot of biological variation! Remember, Biology also covers more than humans, these genes exist in many life forms.

Some factors we use to describe biological sex:

  • Sex chromosomes
  • Hormone production
  • Sexual organs
  • Production of eggs, sperm or variations of those


Here are some ways these genetic variations express. Looks more complex than just two options, right?

Here is a link to help your understanding of using pronouns:

Gender Pronouns

Would you like to learn more?

Groups with support material

Definitional References


Here is a Laney bathroom map so you can find one that you feel comfortable using and a link to our college’s working group, the Lavender Project.

Here is this information as PPT slides: Gender-Sex Slides

Need to change the name listed in Passport? Here’s how: Preferred Name Guidelines