Posts in this series:

- Gender identity and sexual attraction, part 1 – models for gender identity (this one)
- Gender identity and sexual attraction, part 2 – vocabulary for attraction in the continuum gender model
- Gender identity and sexual attraction, part 3 – vocabulary for attraction in the triangle gender model

Last time I presented a couple of flowcharts for sexual attraction. But they weren’t really adequate. So let’s dig into gender identity a little.

To set the tone, here is Irving Kaufman singing Edgar Leslie and James Monaco’s 1925 song “Masculine Women! Feminine Men!”

I present three models for gender identity.

It’s important to realize that these are just models. We’re going to try to use them to describe people, but the people are the important thing – not the model. **If a real person and an artificial model don’t fit together, it is the model that is at fault, not the person.**

## Binary model

The binary model I grew up with admits of only two genders. It is useful only as a starting point for further development.

We can express this mathematically as *G*_{2} = {♀, ♂}. We can define some labels:

- A
*female*person has gender ♀. - A
*male*person has gender ♂.

Ugh. Surely we can do better than this.

## Continuum model

The continuum model extends the binary model by creating a continuous spectrum of genders between the two genders in the binary model. This allows for more meaningful discourse but is still flawed.

We can express this mathematically as *G*_{c} = { (1 − *λ*)♀ + *λ*♂ | *λ* ∈ [0, 1] }. *λ* tells us the relative position of the gender compared to the binary genders ♀ and ♂. The model reduces to *G*_{2} in the case where *λ* ∈ {0, 1}.

We can define some labels:

- A
*female*person has*λ*near 0. - A
*male*person has*λ*near 1. - A
*nonbinary*person has*λ*away from 0 and 1.

The Galactian Alignments system allows for gender *alignment* of nonbinary people:

- A female-aligned nonbinary person is
*lunarian*. - A male-aligned nonbinary person is
*solarian*. - A non-aligned nonbinary person is
*stellarian*.

Here’s the same diagram showing the labels.

That’s a little better.

## Triangle model

The triangle model extends the continuum model by adding a notion of gender saturation:

To express this mathematically we introduce ⚪ – meaning agender/genderlessness – and identify it with 0. We define the triangle *G*_{Δ} = { *κ*((1 − *λ*)♀ + *λ*♂) | *κ*, *λ* ∈ [0, 1] }. *κ* is the degree of gender saturation. This reduces to the continuum model *G*_{c} in the case where *κ* = 1.

New definitions:

- A
*gendered*person has*κ*near 1. - An
*agender/genderless*person has*κ*near 0. - A
*partially gendered*person has*κ*away from 0 and 1. - A
*female*person has (*λ*,*κ*) near (0, 1). - A
*male*person has (*λ*,*κ*) near (1, 1).

Here’s the same diagram showing the labels:

Better still.

Now, even this model is flawed – for example, it doesn’t fit with genderfluid or bimodal people – but I’ll stop here for the sake of space.

It is likely that, even as far as it goes, this post contains mistakes. If you find any please let me know.

*Exercise:* are agender/genderless people nonbinary?

## 2 thoughts on “Gender identity and sexual attraction, part 1 – models for gender identity”