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Gender Modality refers to the correspondence (or lack thereof) between one's assigned gender at birth and one's actual gender identity. The two primary, and most well known gender modalities are cisgender and transgender. However, those are not the only possible modalities one can have. Gender modality is an open-ended category which welcomes the elaboration of further terms.

While the term "trans" may by defined as any lack of correspondence between gender identity and gender assigned at birth, some may find the all-or-nothing nature of ‘correspondence’ too constraining, or may feel that their relationship with their assigned gender at birth is more complex than can be described through the terms cis or trans. The cis-trans binary is challenged by some non-binary people (especially agender people) as well as some intersex individuals and plural system members, who feel they cannot fit into either term. Gender modalities also creates a space for cultures in which terms like transgender and cisgender do not reflect understandings of gender in that society.

Gender modality has, in some cases, been expanded by LGBT+ individuals to a more general relationship or directionality of one's gender irrespective of assigned gender, e.g. adgender, genderqueer.


Umbrella Terms

These can be used as umbrella terms and might be able to be used as an identity by itself.

  • Cisn't: An umbrella term for anyone who isn't cisgender.
  • Transn't: An umbrella term for anyone who isn't transgender.
  • Centrgender: Both an umbrella term and its own identity for anyone who isn't cisgender nor transgender; in other words, someone who is both cisn't and transn't.

General Identities

These identities are not exclusive to certain individuals.

  • Cisgender: Someone who identifies as the same gender as their AGAB.
  • Transgender: Someone who identifies as a different gender as their AGAB.
  • Demicisgender: Someone who identifies partially, but not completely, as cisgender.
  • Demitransgender: Someone who identifies partially, but not completely, as transgender.
  • Integragender: Someone who has multiple genders, in which one of them matches their AGAB, making them both cisgender and transgender as a result.
  • Isogender: Someone who is not cis, but does not identify as transgender for whatever reason. The reasons can include, but not limited to, being partly their AGAB, fluid between genders in which one is their AGAB, being non-binary and aligned similarly to one's AGAB, or being genderless.
  • Sensgender: Someone who relates to the trans experience, but only sometimes, temporarily, or not completely.
  • Adgender: Someone who wants/is/has transitioned towards a particular gender or gender expression. This term is for transgender individuals and people who are not trans but still transition.
  • Metagender: Someone who is not cisgender, but either is not or does not identify as transgender. (note: other uses of metagender are explained on the metagender page; this includes metagender as a religious concept, as gender identities, etc.)
  • Genderqueer: As a modality, queering gender; subverting and challenging common expectations related to gender. Genderqueer is also its own gender identity.[1][2]
  • Absgender: Someone who is beyond, between or removed from trans/cis dichotomy, or an individual who is neither cis nor trans.[3]

Intersex/AIAB Exclusive

These are identities that are exclusive to intersex individuals or those who are AIAB.

  • Ipsogender: Intersex individuals who identify as their assigned gender at birth, but do not feel the term “cisgender” describes them due to being intersex. A “cis intersex” individual.
  • Ultergender: Intersex individuals who identify as a gender other than their assigned gender at birth, but do not feel the term “transgender” describes them due to being intersex. A “trans intersex” individual.
  • Utrinquegender: Someone who has aspects of both trans and cis experiences due to being AIAB or being part of a system.

System Exclusive

These identities are exclusive to systems.

  • Afficgender: Someone who is a system member, whose gender identity is the same as the body's AGAB.
  • Detragender: Someone who is a system member, whose gender identity is different from the body's AGAB.
  • Utrinquegender: Someone who has aspects of both trans and cis experiences due to being AIAB or being part of a system.
  • Azonosgender: Someone who is a system member and is transgender in the innerworld, however shares the same gender as the body's AGAB.
  • Confudirgender: Someone who is a system member and is cisgender in the innerworld, however does not share the same gender as the body's AGAB.


Gender modality was a term created by Florence Ashley, a transfeminine jurist and bioethicist, some time around February 28, 2019.[4] The term was coined because Ashley noted that the notion of ‘gender identity’ as used in law, perpetuates the idea that ‘gender identity’ is something only used by trans individuals (whereas cis individuals would just have 'gender'). Ashley traces this misuse of the term gender identity to fact that a conceptual category such as gender modality was not available when policymakers attempt to speak of discrimination against trans people by virtue of being not cis.

The benefits of using gender modality as a concept include:

  1. Moves away from the othering nature of using the term "gender identity" when trans individuals are the sole intended subjects, which normalizes terminology that describes non-LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ individuals as equals.
  2. Enhances our vocabulary when discussing the various aspects of gender (e.g. gender assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, and now gender modality).
  3. Resolves controversies surrounding appropriate terminology when referring to the fact of being trans, with terms such as “transsexuality”, “transgenderism”.
  4. Opens the door to gender modalities outside of a cis/trans binary, by enabling us to talk about ones “gender modality” instead of one “being cis or trans” (in the same way that “sexual/romantic orientation” gives us conceptual tools to avoid reproducing a “straight/gay” binary).

Ashley advocates for the usage of gender modality in the WPATH Standards of Care version 8 and has written several essays on the topic of gender modality.[5] The term has since been used in research about transgender health.[6][7]

The need for a categorical term of one's relationship to one's assigned gender had been explored prior to Florence's coining as early as 2014.[2]


  1. Andrew Pegoda (15 July 2020). Not cis. Not trans. Genderqueer.
  2. 2.0 2.1 queeranarchism (16 February 2014). "Yeah, but can you explain the cis gender thing?". Tumblr. Retrieved 28 January 2021
  4. Ashley Florence (2019-04-08). "Gender modality: Proposal for new terminology." Medium. Retrieved 2020-08-02.
  5. Ashley, Florence. (2021). 'Trans' is my gender modality: a modest terminological proposal. In Laura Erikson-Schroth (Eds.), Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press (forthcoming). Accessed 2020-08-02
  6. Felt, Dylan; Xu, Jiayi; Floresca, Ysabel B.; Fernandez, Ella S.; Korpak, Aaron K.; Phillips, Gregory; Wang, Xinzi; Curry, Caleb W., and Beach, Lauren B. (30 November 2021). "Instability in Housing and Medical Care Access: The Inequitable Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on U.S. Transgender Populations". Transgender Health. (forthcoming)
  7. Phillips, Gregory II; Xu, Jiayi; Ruprecht, Megan M.; Costa, Diogo; Felt, Dylan; Wang, Xinzi; Glenn, Erik Elías; Beach, Lauren B. (30 Jun 2021). "Associations with COVID-19 Symptoms, Prevention Interest, and Testing Among Sexual and Gender Minority Adults in a Diverse National Sample". LGBT Health. 8 (5): 322-329. (online)