Skip to Main Content

Current Issues

Start exploring resources for various current issues.

Introduction & Background

Gender identity considers the psychology of an individual rather than their biological sex assigned at birth. When that mental concept aligns with one's physiology, that person is described as cisgender. When there's a mismatch, gender dysphoria may be experienced and that person, today, would be considered transgender. Some cultures accepted transgressing gender lines, letting people live their lives and serve their communities, whether as a 'third option' (like two-spirited people) or as the other side of a binary.

Gender also works as a social construct, determining what the social norms are for how people dress and behave. Traditionally in Western society, this existed as a binary: i.e. do you wear pink and play with dolls, or do you wear blue and play with trucks? However, even with that binary, what has been considered appropriate has changed with history. A masculine man in the 18th century would dress up in heels, hosiery, colorful clothing, and a wig, none of which would be considered masculine a century later. The feminist movement has deliberately strived to expand what is considered feminine, as well, from voting to working outside the home.

Cisgender people are not necessarily immune to dysphoria, either. Cis women seeking breast augmentations and cis men seeking testosterone supplements or taking Viagra-type drugs are arguably seeking gender-affirming care, not unlike a transgender person doing the same.

Finding Resources


  • transitioning (social, legal, medical)
  • drag artistry (drag queens and kings)
  • public restroom access
  • puberty blockers
  • gender-affirming care for adults vs minors
  • pronoun usage
  • Title IX
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • social norms
  • gender expression
  • nature vs nurture
  • affirmative action
  • gender roles


  • Gender expression
  • Gender essentialism
  • Gender expansive

Gender identities

  • Non-binary
  • Gender fluid
  • gender non-conforming (GNC)
  • Transgender
  • Cisgender
  • Agender

Gender identities should not be confused with sexual orientation (e.g. asexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, pansexual, queer).


Medical terms

  • gender-affirming care
  • gender dysphoria
  • hormone therapy
  • intersex
  • sex assigned at birth


Individual Databases

If you know a specific collection has what you need, or if you're struggling to narrow a search from the search bar above, try one of these.

Featured Titles


Non-Profit Organizations

Recent Headlines

Loading ...

News Collections from the Library

Use these to leverage the advanced search options to narrow your results, or to get around stubborn paywalls!

Non-Binary Genders Around the World

This map was developed by PBS's Independent Lens.

About This Page

This page was originally developed by Paola Diaz.

Other contributors: Elaine Patton

First published: May 2024

Related Guides