The distinction between sex and gender differentiates a person's sex from that person's gender, which can refer to either social roles ascribed on the basis of the sex of the person (gender role) or personal identification of one's own gender based on an internal awareness (gender identity). In some circumstances, an individual's assigned sex and gender do not align, and the person may be transgender. In other cases, an individual may have sex characteristics that complicate sex assignment, and the person may be intersex.
In ordinary speech, sex and gender are often used interchangeably. Some languages, such as German or Finnish, have no separate words for sex and gender, and the distinction has to be made through context.
Sexologist John Money introduced the terminological distinction between biological sex and gender as a role in 1955. Before his work, it was virtually unknown to use the word gender to refer to anything but grammatical categories.
Among scientists, the term sex differences (as compared to gender differences) is typically applied to sexually dimorphic traits that are hypothesized to be evolved consequences of sexual selection.[failed verification]
The case of David Reimer, who was raised as a girl after a botched circumcision, was described in the book As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. Reimer was in fact not comfortable as a girl and later confirmed his innate gender identity, changing his presentation back to male when he discovered the truth of his surgery. He eventually committed suicide.
Anisogamy, or the size differences of gametes (sex cells), is the defining feature of the two sexes. According to biologist Michael Majerus there is no other universal difference between males and females.
By definition, males are organisms that produce small, mobile gametes (sperm); while females are organisms that produce large and generally immobile gametes (ova or eggs).
Richard Dawkins stated that it’s possible to interpret all the differences between the sexes stemming from this single difference in gametes.
The consensus among scientists is that all behaviors are phenotypes complex interactions of both biology and environment—and thus nature vs. nurture is a misleading categorization.[clarification needed] The term sex differences is typically applied to sexually dimorphic traits that are hypothesized to be evolved consequences of sexual selection. For example, the human "sex difference" in height is a consequence of sexual selection, while the "gender difference" typically seen in head hair length (women with longer hair) is not. Scientific research shows an individual's sex influences his or her behavior.
Sex is annotated as different from gender in the Oxford English Dictionary, where it says sex "tends now to refer to biological differences".
The World Health Organization (WHO) similarly states that "'sex' refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women" and that "'male' and 'female' are sex categories". According to the CDC people whose internal psychological experience differs from their assigned sex are transgender, transsexual, or non-binary.
Historian Thomas W. Laqueur suggests that from the Renaissance to the 18th century, there was a prevailing inclination among doctors towards the existence of only one biological sex (the one-sex theory, that women and men had the same fundamental reproductive structure). In some discourses, this view persisted into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Laqueur asserts that even at its peak, the one-sex model was supported among highly educated Europeans but is not known to have been a popular view nor one entirely agreed upon by doctors who treated the general population.
Scholars such as Joan Cadden and Michael Stolberg have criticized Laqueur's theory. Stolberg provides evidence to suggest that significant two-sex understandings of anatomy existed before Laqueur claims, arguing that sexual dimorphism was accepted as early as the sixteenth century.:276 Joan Cadden has stated that 'one-sex' models of the body were already treated with scepticism in the ancient and medieval periods, and that Laqueur's periodisation of the shift from one-sex to two-sex was not as clear-cut as he made it out to be.
Sex and gender took center stage in America in the time of wars, when women had to work and men were at war.
Main article: Gender
In the Oxford English Dictionary, gender is defined as, "[i]n mod[ern] (esp[ecially] feminist) use, a euphemism for the sex of a human being, often intended to emphasize the social and cultural, as opposed to the biological, distinctions between the sexes", with the earliest example cited being from 1963. The American Heritage Dictionary (5th edition) states that gender may be defined by identity as "neither entirely female nor entirely male"; its Usage Note adds:
Some people maintain that the word sex should be reserved for reference to the biological aspects of being male or female or to sexual activity, and that the word gender should be used only to refer to sociocultural roles. ... In some situations this distinction avoids ambiguity, as in gender research, which is clear in a way that sex research is not. The distinction can be problematic, however. Linguistically, there isn't any real difference between gender bias and sex bias, and it may seem contrived to insist that sex is incorrect in this instance.
A working definition in use by the World Health Organization for its work is that "'[g]ender' refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women" and that "'masculine' and 'feminine' are gender categories." The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used to use gender instead of sex when referring to physiological differences between male and female organisms. In 2011, they reversed their position on this and began using sex as the biological classification and gender as "a person's self representation as male or female, or how that person is responded to by social institutions based on the individual's gender presentation." Gender is also now commonly used even to refer to the physiology of non-human animals, without any implication of social gender roles.
GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) makes a distinction between sex and gender in their most recent[timeframe?] Media Reference Guide: Sex is "the classification of people as male or female" at birth, based on bodily characteristics such as chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitalia. Gender identity is "one's internal, personal sense of being a man or woman (or a boy or a girl)".
Gender in the sense of social and behavioral distinctions, according to archaeological evidence, arose "at least by some 30,000 years ago". More evidence was found as of "26,000 years ago", at least at the archeological site Dolní Věstonice I and others, in what is now the Czech Republic. This is during the Upper Paleolithic time period.
The historic meaning of gender, ultimately derived from Latin genus, was of "kind" or "variety". By the 20th century, this meaning was obsolete, and the only formal use of gender was in grammar. This changed in the early 1970s when the work of John Money, particularly the popular college textbook Man & Woman, Boy & Girl, was embraced by feminist theory. This meaning of gender is now prevalent in the social sciences, although in many other contexts, gender includes sex or replaces it. Gender was first only used in languages to describe the feminine and masculine words, up until around the 1960s.
See also: Language and gender
Since the social sciences now distinguish between biologically defined sex and socially constructed gender, the term gender is now also sometimes used by linguists to refer to social gender as well as grammatical gender. Traditionally, however, a distinction has been made by linguists between sex and gender, where sex refers primarily to the attributes of real-world entities – the relevant extralinguistic attributes being, for instance, male, female, non-personal, and indeterminate sex – and grammatical gender refers to a category, such as masculine, feminine, and neuter (often based on sex, but not exclusively so in all languages), that determines the agreement between nouns of different genders and associated words, such as articles and adjectives.
A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, for instance, states
By GENDER is meant a grammatical classification of nouns, pronouns, or other words in the noun phrase according to certain meaning-related distinctions, especially a distinction related to the sex of the referent.
Thus German, for instance, has three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Nouns referring to people and animals of known sex are generally referred to by nouns with the equivalent gender. Thus Mann (meaning man) is masculine and is associated with a masculine definite article to give der Mann, while Frau (meaning woman) is feminine and is associated with a feminine definite article to give die Frau. However the words for inanimate objects are commonly masculine (e.g. der Tisch, the table) or feminine (die Armbanduhr, the watch), and grammatical gender can diverge from biological sex; for instance the feminine noun [die] Person refers to a person of either sex, and the neuter noun [das] Mädchen means "the girl".
In modern English, there is no true grammatical gender in this sense, though the differentiation, for instance, between the pronouns "he" and "she", which in English refers to a difference in sex (or social gender), is sometimes referred to as a gender distinction. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, for instance, refers to the semantically based "covert" gender (e.g. male and female, not masculine and feminine) of English nouns, as opposed to the "overt" gender of some English pronouns; this yields nine gender classes: male, female, dual, common, collective, higher male animal, higher female animal, lower animal, and inanimate, and these semantic gender classes affect the possible choices of pronoun for coreference to the real-life entity, e.g. who and he for brother but which and it or she for cow.
Main article: Doing gender
Used primarily in sociology and gender studies, "doing gender" is the socially constructed performance which takes place during routine human interactions, rather than as a set of essentialized qualities based on one's biological sex. The term first appeared in Candace West and Don Zimmerman’s article "Doing Gender", published in the peer-reviewed journal, Gender and Society. Originally written in 1977 but not published until 1987, "Doing Gender" is the most cited article published in Gender and Society.
West and Zimmerman state that to understand gender as activity, it is important to differentiate between sex, sex category, and gender.:127 They say that sex refers to the socially agreed upon specifications that establish one as male or female; sex is most often based on an individual's genitalia, or even their chromosomal typing before birth. They consider sex categories to be dichotomous, and that the person is placed in a sex category by exhibiting qualities exclusive to one category or the other. During most interactions, others situate a person's sex by identifying their sex category; however, they believe that a person's sex need not align with their sex category. West and Zimmerman maintain that the sex category is "established and sustained by the socially required identificatory displays that proclaim one’s membership in one or the other category".:127 Gender is the performance of attitudes and actions that are considered socially acceptable for one's sex category.:127
West and Zimmerman suggested that the interactional process of doing gender, combined with socially agreed upon gender expectations, holds individuals accountable for their gender performances. They also believe that while "doing gender" appropriately strengthens and promotes social structures based on the gender dichotomy, it inappropriately does not call into question these same social structures; only the individual actor is questioned. The concept of "doing gender" recognizes that gender both structures human interactions and is created through them.
The current distinction between the terms sex difference versus gender difference has been criticized as misleading and counterproductive. These terms suggest that the behavior of an individual can be partitioned into separate biological and cultural factors.[original research?] (However, behavioral differences between individuals can be statistically partitioned, as studied by behavioral genetics.) Instead, all behaviors are phenotypes—a complex interweaving of both nature and nurture.
Diane Halpern, in her book Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities, argued problems with sex vs. gender terminology:
I cannot argue (in this book) that nature and nurture are inseparable and then... use different terms to refer to each class of variables. The ... biological manifestations of sex are confounded with psychosocial variables.... The use of different terms to label these two types of contributions to human existence seemed inappropriate in light of the biopsychosocial position I have taken.
She quotes Steven Pinker's summary of the problems with the terms sex and gender: "Part of it is a new prissiness—many people today are as squeamish about sexual dimorphism as the Victorians were about sex. But part of it is a limitation of the English language. The word 'sex' refers ambiguously to copulation and to sexual dimorphism..." Richard Lippa writes in Gender, Nature and Nurture that:
Some researchers have argued that the word sex should be used to refer to (biological differences), whereas the word gender should be used to refer to (cultural differences). However, it is not at all clear the degree to which the differences between males and females are due to biological factors versus learned and cultural factors. Furthermore, indiscriminate use of the word gender tends to obscure the distinction between two different topics: (a) differences between males and females, and (b) individual differences in maleness and femaleness that occur within each sex.
It has been suggested that more useful distinctions to make would be whether a behavioral difference between the sexes is first due to an evolved adaptation, then, if so, whether the adaptation is sexually dimorphic (different) or sexually monomorphic (the same in both sexes). The term sex difference could then be re-defined as between-sex differences that are manifestations of a sexually dimorphic adaptation (which is how many scientists use the term), while the term gender difference could be re-defined as due to differential socialization between the sexes of a monomorphic adaptation or byproduct. For example, greater male propensity toward physical aggression and risk taking would be termed a "sex difference;" the generally longer head hair length of females would be termed a "gender difference".
Transgender people experience a mismatch between their gender identity or gender expression, and their assigned sex. Transgender people are sometimes called transsexual if they desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another.
Transgender is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex (trans men and trans women), it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (e.g. people who are genderqueer, non-binary, bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender). Other definitions of transgender also include people who belong to a third gender, or conceptualize transgender people as a third gender. Infrequently, the term transgender is defined very broadly to include cross-dressers.
According to the Intersex Society of North America, "nature doesn't decide where the category of 'male' ends and the category of 'intersex' begins, or where the category of 'intersex' ends and the category of 'female' begins. Humans decide. Humans (today, typically doctors) decide how small a penis has to be, or how unusual a combination of parts has to be, before it counts as intersex."
Many feminists consider sex to only be a matter of biology and something that is not about social or cultural construction. For example, Lynda Birke, a feminist biologist, states that "'biology' is not seen as something which might change." However, the sex/gender distinction, also known as the Standard Model of Sex/Gender,[original research?] is criticized by feminists who believe that there is undue emphasis placed on sex being a biological aspect, something that is fixed, natural, unchanging, and consisting of a male/female dichotomy. They believe the distinction fails to recognize anything outside the strictly male/female dichotomy and that it creates a barrier between those that fit as 'usual' and those that are 'unusual'.[who?][original research?] In Anne Fausto-Sterling’s Sexing the Body she addresses the birth of children who are intersex. In this case, the standard model (sex/gender distinction) is seen as incorrect with regard to its notion that there are only two sexes, male and female. This is because "complete maleness and complete femaleness represent the extreme ends of a spectrum of possible body types." In other words, Fausto-Sterling argues that sex is a continuum.
Rather than viewing sex as a biological construct, there are feminists who view both sex and gender as a social construct. Fausto-Sterling believes that sex is socially constructed because nature does not decide on who is seen as a male or female physically. Rather, doctors decide what seems to be a "natural" sex for the inhabitants of society. In addition, the gender, behavior, actions, and appearance of males/females is also seen as socially constructed because codes of femininity and masculinity are chosen and deemed fit by society for societal usage.
Some feminist philosophers maintain that gender is totally undetermined by sex. See, for example, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, a widely influential feminist text.
Some feminists go further and argue that neither sex nor gender are strictly binary concepts. Judith Lorber, for instance, has stated that many conventional indicators of sex are not sufficient to demarcate male from female. For example, not all women lactate, while some men do. Similarly, Suzanne Kessler, in a 1990 survey of medical specialists in pediatric intersexuality, found out that when a child was born with XY chromosomes but ambiguous genitalia, its sex was often determined according to the size of its penis. Thus, even if the sex/gender distinction holds, Lorber and Kessler suggest that the dichotomies of female/male and masculine/feminine are not themselves exhaustive. Lorber writes, "My perspective goes beyond accepted feminist views that gender is a cultural overlay that modifies physiological sex differences ... I am arguing that bodies differ in many ways physiologically, but they are completely transformed by social practices to fit into the salient categories of a society, the most pervasive of which are 'female' and 'male' and 'women' and 'men.'"
Moreover, Lorber has alleged that there exists more diversity within the individual categories of sex and gender—female/male and feminine/masculine, respectively—than between them. Hence, her fundamental claim is that both sex and gender are social constructions, rather than natural kinds.
A comparable view has been advanced by Linda Zerilli, who writes regarding Monique Wittig, that she is "critical of the sex/gender dichotomy in much feminist theory because such a dichotomy leaves unquestioned the belief that there is a 'core of nature which resists examination, a relationship excluded from the social in the analysis—a relationship whose characteristic is ineluctability in culture, as well as in nature, and which is the heterosexual relationship.'" Judith Butler also criticizes the sex/gender distinction. Discussing sex as biological fact causes sex to appear natural and politically neutral. However, she argues that "the ostensibly natural facts of sex [are] discursively produced in the service of other political and social interests." Butler concludes, "If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps this construct called 'sex' is as culturally constructed as gender; indeed, perhaps it was always already gender, with the consequence that the distinction between sex and gender turns out to be no distinction at all."
Governments, corporations, and organizations have varying recognition of, and approaches to the distinction between sex and gender.
The United States Census Bureau performs a census of the U.S. population every ten years. The questionnaire asks one question about sex, phrased as "What is person 1's sex?" and provides two checkboxes for the response, labeled "Male" and "Female". An explanatory page explains this question, using the term sex: as "We ask one question about a person’s sex to better understand demographic characteristics." The U.S. Census has had a question about sex on the census since the 1790 census. The U.S. Census recognizes the difference between the terms sex and gender, the fact they are often confused or used interchangeably, and may differ across cultures and time, and explains that what the census attempts to measure, is "the sex composition of the population". 
The Australian government provides guidelines on sex and gender to the public based on legislation passed in 2013. The guidelines recognize that "individuals may identify as a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth, or may not identify as exclusively male or female". The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) gathers data about the population broken down in various ways, including by sex and gender. They require precise formulations of these terms, and go into some detail about sex recorded at birth, possible changes in sex assignment later in life, the meaning of gender and how it differs from sex. ABS recognizes the popular confusion among the two terms, and provide descriptions of how to phrase surveys so as to elicit accurate responses for the purposes of the data they collect.
The government of the state of Western Australia recognizes a clear distinction between sex and gender providing a nuanced definition of each, including complications involved in sex beyond just sex assigned at birth, and the socially constructed nature of gender, including possible non-binary aspects.
The United Kingdom Office for National Statistics (ONS) describes definitions provided by the UK government that make clear distinctions between the "biological aspects" aspects of sex, "generally male or female", and "assigned at birth", while describing gender as a "social construction relating to behaviours and attributes based on labels of masculinity and femininity".
The World Health Organization's defines gender as "socially constructed", and sex as characteristics that are "biologically determined", drawing a distinction between the sex categories of male and female, and the genders "girls and boys who grow into men and women".
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) in their Guide for Working With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Patients (TGNC Guide) has guidance for psychiatrists about gender, sex, and orientation. The TGNC defines gender as comprising two components, that of gender identity and gender expression. They define sex in biological terms, as "anatomical, hormonal, or genetic", and mentions birth assignment of sex based on external genital appearance.
One thing biologists do agree on is that males and females count as different sexes. And they also agree that the main difference between the two is gamete size: males make lots of small gametes—sperm in animals, pollen in plants—and females produce a few big eggs.
Anisogamy can be defined as a mode of sexual reproduction in which fusing gametes, formed by participating parents, are dissimilar in size.
The answer is that there is an agreement by convention: individuals producing the smaller of the two gamete types-sperm or pollen- are males, and those producing larger gametes-eggs or ovules- are females.
However, there is one fundamental feature of the sexes which can be used to label males as males, and females as females, throughout animals and plants. This is that the sex cells or 'gametes' of males are much smaller and more numerous than the gametes of females. This is true whether we are dealing with animals or plants. One group of individuals has large sex cells, and it is convenient to use the word female for them. The other group, which it is convenient to call male, has small sex cells. The difference is especially pronounced in reptiles and in birds, where a single egg cell is big enough and nutritious enough to feed a developing baby for several weeks. Even in humans, where the egg is microscopic, it is still many times larger than the sperm. As we shall see, it is possible to interpret all the other differences between the sexes as stemming from this one basic difference.
Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation [GLAAD], 2007).CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identities, gender expressions, and/or behaviors are different from those culturally associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
Transgender: An umbrella term that describes people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from expectations associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.
The guidelines recognise that individuals may identify as a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth, or may not identify as exclusively male or female, and that this should be reflected in records held by the government.
The word `gender' is used to define those characteristics of women and men that are socially constructed, while `sex' refers to those that are biologically determined. People are born female or male but learn to be girls and boys who grow into women and men. This learned behaviour makes up gender identity and determines gender roles.
Sex: The term 'sex' refers to a person’s biological characteristics. A person's sex is usually described as being male or female. Some people may not be exclusively male or female (the term 'intersex' is explained below). Some people identify as neither male nor female. Gender: The term 'gender' refers to the way in which a person indentifies or expresses their masculine or feminine characteristics. Gender is generally understood as a social and cultural construction. A person's gender identity or gender expression is not always exclusively male or female and may or may not correspond to their sex.
Gender is used to describe the characteristics of women and men that are socially constructed, while sex refers to those that are biologically determined. People are born female or male, but learn to be girls and boys who grow into women and men. This learned behaviour makes up gender identity and determines gender roles.