gender expression


: the physical and behavioral manifestations of one's gender identity
People vary greatly in the extent to which they hold and convey gendered thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Gender expression refers to the way people convey their gender through mannerisms, behaviors, or expressions.Encyclopedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology
For most people, … gender expression occurs so naturally it's unnoticeable. Except when gender expression doesn't match traditional notions of the gender assigned at birth.Will Dean

Examples of gender expression in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web More than a third (39%) of respondents said they were harassed online because of their gender expression or identity in the previous 12 months, and 30% reported being verbally harassed during the same time frame. Chandelis Duster, CNN, 7 Feb. 2024 At the beginning of the musical, Jerry, on the run from the mob, disguises himself as a woman, named Daphne, and then later finds joy and authenticity in that gender expression. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 May 2023 Parents fall into assumptions based on years of biases and learned constructs about gender and gender expression. Amber Leventry, Parents, 2 Jan. 2024 As their societies developed over time, hundreds of different ethnicities, languages, religious practices, gender expressions and identities emerged. Rosalyn R. Lapier, The Conversation, 1 June 2023 Other important things that Latinx parents should do are learn about the terms, talk respectively to their child about their identity, use their names and pronouns correctly, support their gender expression, and be welcoming to their child’s LGBTQ friends and peers. Irina Gonzalez, Parents, 23 Oct. 2023 Season Two Finale Santana is far from the only classic rocker to share some hurtful and scientifically dubious remarks about trans people, gender identity, and gender expression. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 24 Aug. 2023 Some of the state’s largest school districts have developed vague and arbitrary laws prohibiting books on race and gender expression. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 21 Oct. 2023 Gender roles are as fluid as gender expression in this imaginary past. TIME, 5 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gender expression.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1973, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gender expression was in 1973

Dictionary Entries Near gender expression

Cite this Entry

“Gender expression.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition

gender expression

: the physical and behavioral manifestations of one's gender identity
… some transgender people experience gender dysphoria, defined as psychological distress associated with a sense of incongruence between their gender identity and gender expression and/or body and physical appearance.Jae M. Sevelius et al., International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Women in couples where both partners have more feminine gender expressions may be more likely to be perceived as sisters or friends by onlookers, making them less likely to be targets of homophobia, but simultaneously making it more likely that their romantic relationship will be dismissed.Lauren Matheson et al., The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
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