Social Justice Advocates Handbook: A Guide to Gender Understanding I'm Heading to Cairo

The Genderbread Person

by Sam Killermann · 75 comments

in Edugraphics,Printable Resources

Please check out the new-and-improved Genderbread Person v2.0.  It’s a heckuvalot better and just as free to share/print! I’m leaving this up for now for those who want it, but I’m no longer endorsing it as the effective model.

The Genderbread Person

The Genderbread Person is an infographic that breaks down gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation into an easy to understand visual.  Click below to download a printer-friendly copy for your own uses!

View the Hi-Resolution .JPGDownload Printable .PDF

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It’s perfect for residence hall billboards, school hallways, campus kiosks, office walls, or to be used in diversity/social justice/sensitivity training. Leave a comment and let us know how you’re using it!

If you want to see a more in-depth explanation using this graphic, check out my post Breaking through the binary: Gender explained using continuums.

Written by Sam Killermann

Sam is a writer and performer who uses those skills as an ally to advance progress in the realms of LGBT equality and social justice. He tours the country speaking to college students about stereotypes, prejudice, and oppression, and writes for this site when he's at home in Austin, TX.

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  • sophie diallo dupuis

    I love it! I just posted it to my Facebook page and will use it in the future with my kids. How nice it is to live in a world filled with variating gray areas!

    • Samuel Killermann

      Happy to hear you enjoyed it!  And shared it!  Hopefully it creates some positive conversations!

  • Anonymous

    Sam, I really like it! This handles these issues in such a clear and visual way!

    My only concern is the lack of pansexuality in sexual orientation.

    • Samuel Killermann

      That’s an excellent concern.  I originally had that concern, but didn’t know how to mitigate it.  Someone recently suggested a great improvement, and I’ll be posting an update soon.

    • Julianna

      I’d like to add on Asexulity as well if you haven’t gotten that request yet.
      But it’s so cute and spot-on in every other way! Hopefully this’ll become a mainstream teaching method some day.

      • Samuel Killermann

        I have gotten that request, Julianna, and I’m going to do my best.  As I was drawing, I am struggling with creating an accurate visual, but I’ll figure it out.  The sooner I can post it, the better, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

  • S Survey

    Hi Sam,

    I saw it on fb and coincidently had watched the documentary ‘Orchids: My Intersex Adventure’ the previous night. So I posted it to their fb page :-)

    It’s a brilliant visual and explains there is a continuum. I’m sure if I’d been shown this as a child I would have no problem understanding, accepting and incorporating it into my world view. It would have been so useful to my obviously gay school friend in primary school or the girl that now I think about it may have been intersex and was always lusting at me hahaha.

    Thanks so much for your creativity.


    • Samuel Killermann

      Hi Susan!

      I’m happy you found it, and hope that you find it useful.  I agree with your point about how children would have no issue swallowing this stuff.  It’s a bit more difficult with adults, but I’m constantly surprised by how receptive and compassionate people can be.

      Thanks for sharing, and for commenting.  I hope I can continue to find positive uses for my creativity :)


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  • Brian

    I think you should change the Sexual Orientation continuum. It is troublesome as can be seen by your explanation of it ‘based on their sex/gender relative to your own’. Relative to my own what? Biological sex? Gender Identity? Gender Expression? etc.

    Also, the continuum somewhat enforces the straight/gay dichotomy. 

    How about instead of Heterosexual and Homosexual as the extremes, you have Adrophilic and Gynophilic? (Male attracted, female attracted).

    But then is it the biological male or the male expression or male identity that an Androphil is attracted to?

    So if I have three continua defining my overall sexuality, then the people i’m attracted to will have that, too, and I’ll only be attracted to certain ranges of values and combinations on those continua.

    It might be worthwhile seeing if you can omit that continuum altogether and see whether that takes us.

    • Randall Krause

      I agree about the shortcoming of the continuums, but I do not think that adopting esoteric terms like adrophilic and gynophilic in this context would bring clarity to what I think is intended as an introduction to the concept of gender. Also bi people may be attracted to a combination of genders or no gender, s 
      even with such a proposed amendment problems are still invariably introduced.


    • Samuel Killermann

      Ditto what Randall said.

      Also, I would strongly recommend not to view the graphic as confining you in any way – your identity, your sexual orientation, your anything.  It’s a graphic that’s meant to help educate people, particularly lay people.  Do you think it’s helpful for doing that?  How can we make it more effective?

      Here’s the place for your answers:

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate that you are trying to be a helpful person and that you are an ally. I find your model very harmful though. I am not an ally. I am a trans genderqueer identified person and an educator with personal experience on this topic as well as an educational background in it. You have, however unintentionally, appropriated several queer identities and made them heteronormative. For instance, the identity “genderqueer” has its own history and the majority usage for it today contradicts the way your model is broadly representing it. Below is a link to some info about the history of “genderqueer”
    Beemyn, Brett 2005[2002-2006]. “Genderqueer.” In glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Retrieved July 28, 2009 (

    • Randall Krause

      Bear in mind, the Kinsey scale itself promotes behavioral normativity. And yet it is the most widely accepted model in sexology, even if it does not accurately describe the human sexual condition. I firmly disavow the Kinsey scale myself, but I don’t think one can fault it being used for an infographic since that is what the general public already accepts.

      I think it would be even more harmful to adopt the Genderbread Person as the means to directly challenge laypeople’s conceptions of sexuality. That rightfully deserves its own educational campaign. I view this tool as an endorsement for people to learn more, not a complete “throw everything you know out the window” conceptualization :)

      I do, however, admit that the gender space needs a little refinement, particularly the illustration for genderqueer.


    • Samuel Killermann

      Suggest some improvements:

  • Anonymous

    PS the genderbread person is not “breaking through the binary”. It is so very binary that it makes no room for people who are not binary. 

    • Samuel Killermann

      Hyperbole is never helpful, even in post script.  If you want to argue semantics, I suppose we can, but that’s not going to get us anywhere.  

      Did you read the article “Breaking through the binary”?  Do you not think it is a helpful educational piece for someone who assumes that male and female are the only options? (where male/female=genitals hormones self-ID expression and perception)  Could it be improved?  Absolutely.  Suggest an improvement.  Educate. 

      • Anonymous

        hi there. I couldn’t figure out how to get this figured out. Sorry I posted while i was upset the other day, I was just very shocked at first. I needed time to process what I was seeing and think about my response. I think I can say something more productive this time around. BTW thank you for replying. :) I asked around and someone posted what they felt was a very useful teaching tool I took a look and appreciated it too. It is still problematic, but, I felt that it was less problematic. Good luck!

        • Samuel Killermann

          Completely understandable. I had seen that model (and similar ones) before, and wasn’t a fan, likely for some of the same reasons as you.  Where we differ, I bet, is in my thinking that that model is too complex and exhaustive to be a helpful tool for someone first approaching these ideas.

          I understand your concerns with the continua style of addressing identity – it’s certainly flawed.  But where it’s more beneficial than a universe model, or a list model like in the graphic you linked, is in it’s accessibility for laypersons.  

          You might often have the opportunity to engage in advanced conversations about identity with people, where the nuances, intersections, and grey areas are mutually understood, but I do not often have that opportunity.  In fact, in most cases, my conversations are with people who have never considered anything BUT the binary.  It’s important in education to “meet them where they are”, meaning you would never want to try to teach calculus to someone who’s never studied math.  You’d start with basic arithmetic, then algebra, geometry, perhaps more algebra, THEN try to teach them calculus.

          The conflict I describe above is one of the biggest road-blocks in progressing knowledge and, in turn, equality surrounding non-”traditional” identities.  Advanced knowledge people forget that they weren’t always advanced in knowledge, and when promoting education/awareness/equality/etc. while talking to ignorant laypeople they want them to immediately be at their level, which is impossible.  The end-product has both parties frustrated, going back to their respective groups shaking their heads.  In place of progress, regression takes place because the advanced knowledge person is discouraged (less likely to try again) and the layperson is overwhelmed (less likely to ask again).

  • Anonymous

    This is a much better articulation of my concerns with the genderbread person. It is an exploration of the cissexism inherent in this model.

    • Samuel Killermann

      Thanks for providing that link!  That’s a series of solid criticisms, and would be a great read for people with a bit more advanced understanding of all of this.  If you can clean it up a bit (get rid of the nested tumblr quotes) to make it more legible, I’d love to provide a link in my original post.

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  • Erick

    Hi Sam,
    Just wanted to say that I really do like you model and I appreciate it for its applicability to people who have little to no experience talking about identity/orientation/behavior as concepts separate unto themselves. I definitely agree with some of the other comments and what you’ve said about it being a somewhat simplistic representation that ends up kinda enforcing binaries when you really look into it, but again, I think this is a fantastic introduction to breaking apart the different aspects of gender and sexual identity. 

    Thanks for making this and for making it available for other people to use! I’m going to be using it in a class discussion on gender variant people in higher education.

    • Samuel Killermann

      We recently released a new version, which I think overcomes a lot of the issues of reinforcing binaries that this model possessed.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

  • Alexis

    Hi Sam!
    I needed just such a model last semester.  I set two hundred college students to the task of illustrating Gender identity, expression, sexual orientation and bio sex.  Two hundred students, two hundred blank looks.  This is the most eloquent expression I have seen.  Thank you.

    • Samuel Killermann

      Ha :)  Well, I can share that “blank look” as I set about to improve this model.  It’s a really dense topic to deconstruct.  We released the improvement, however, and I’m happy to say that I overcame my own “blank look” :)

      Sorry for getting behind on comments — somehow this page fell outside of my radar. 

  • Andrew J.

    Hey Sam!  I’m Andrew.  I’m a trans man in Ohio working on a master’s in social work.  I’m going to be giving a presentation to nurses, doctors and social workers at the Cleveland Clinic about the treatment of transgender patients.  I was planning to use this as a visual aid, since while I agree it doesn’t cover everything I think it’s a really great way to put things simply for someone who has never tried to wrap their heads around sex and gender before.  It’s definitely the best model I’ve seen so far since it divides things up and will let me explain that it’s a gradient for most people, so thank you for making it.

    • Samuel Killermann

      Hi Andrew!  Where in Ohio?  I did my master’s at Bowling Green.  I hope the model worked well for you, and you should be happy to know the new-and-improved version has been released.  If you have more presentations to give, I think you’ll find it to be much more effective.

      Sorry for getting behind on comments — somehow this page fell outside of my radar. 

  • Lisa Maurel, MFT

    Hi Sam,
    I’m a therapist specializing with gender identity and sexuality and I’m so excited about your model.
    This is great visual for discussing complex ideas and I look forward to using it in my training and workshops.
    I also appreciate you pointing out how important it is to meet people where they are and use language and images that helps move them along. This is an important conversation for families, for parents, teachers and for our society as a whole. Its going to be a long one and this tool helps! 

    • Samuel Killermann

      Well that’s fantastic, Lisa.  Someone else, a researcher in sexuality, mentioned that he was interested in using my model as a schemata for new research.  I can honestly say I never thought the genderbread person would have such a legitimate presence, but it’s fun :)

      The new version is out, and I’d recommend you use that one in future sessions.  
      Sorry for getting behind on comments — somehow this page fell outside of my radar.

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  • Sistalock2000

    Thank you, Sam! I’m using this to introduce these incredibly complex ideas to my college students who are mostly from rural, pretty homogenous communities. While I understand some of the concerns posted by some of the readers, I fully appreciate you putting this together in a way that is accessible to people who have never interacted with these concepts! Thanks so much and I’ll stay posted for updates!

    • Samuel Killermann

      Thanks for the comment.  That’s a tough challenge, but graphics like this tend to help.  The new version is out and is much improved, so I’d recommend checking that out.

      Sorry for getting behind on comments — somehow this page fell outside of my radar.

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  • Lizgreen79

    I’m going to present this to a community college classroom tomorrow!  (I teach English, Freshman Composition.  We’re on a “gender” unit)  I’m teaching Aaron Devor’s “Becoming Members of Society” from his classic Gender Blending: Confronting the Limits of Duality. I’ll let you know how it goes!  Thanks SO much for this, I can tell it will be a useful teaching tool.

    • Samuel Killermann

      You’re welcome, Liz.  Keep up the great work, and thanks for commenting!  The new version is out, so maybe that will come in handy as well.

  • SAS33

    I’m a trans guy who speaks to college classes on GLBT panels.  One questions we get at almost every panel is, what’s the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity.  It’s a difficult thing to represent with words along so I’m going to start using this as a visual aid.   Thanks so much for all the work you’ve put into this!!!

    • Samuel Killermann

      Absolutely!  And hopefully the new version will be even more helpful to you on those panels.  Thanks for the comment!

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  • Donnak

    I’m a professor and my students lead 3rd-12th grade Diversity Clubs at local schools.  We are sharing this model to introduce children to gender identity.

    • Samuel Killermann

      That’s fantastic, professor.  Might I suggest you consider using the new model:  

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  • Sam

    I’m going to use this to educate my Anthro class! :)

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  • Gemsa

    Hi Sam, I work for a Students’ Union in the UK and I am going to use the Genderbread Person as party of my Diversity training for a group of volunteer Student Leaders to challenge their thinking. Thanks for sharing it :)

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  • Hristo Iliev

    NOPE if you have a penis your a man that is your sex this is your gender. just because you feel like a women dose not mean your gender changes

    • BB

      Yes it does. Genders are societal based constructions derived from one’s identified sex. Those roles are therefore subject to change based on the time period from which they were constructed- which includes, in a more modern sense, means that if one does not feel those roles correlate with their assigned sex, then you can reject the binary that divides the two common sexes where most roles are implicated.

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  • Jo

    I am going to post this in my classroom to show my students they have an ally and someone who strives to understand and help. Thank you.

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  • Jamie

    Thanks for this Sam! I work as a therapist in a treatment centre for youth and I run a series of workshops in which my goal is to foster inclusiveness and arm our youth with information that will help them make safer choices. I use the genderbread person to help explain continuums when I present the LGBTQ* workshops. Your website has been very helpful!

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  • WomynGenderQueer

    I’m going to share this with my Women and Gender Studies class (in a California community college), post it in my office, and use it liberally in the future in discussions of gender, sexuality, labeling and categorizing, and social justice awareness. Thanks!

  • Dwam

    Hi !! This graphic is awesome and helpful ! French comicker Djou and I have translated it in french, if ever you want to list it somewhere, or if anyone ask

  • jenny jenn

    Hey Sam, I am using it for my presentation in my USF Intro to Women’s Studies class. The book we are reading is: Gendered Worlds. If you’d like, I will send you a link of my presentation when I am finished (lol.. before 11:59pm tonight!) I love the ginderbread person
    .. thanks ..

  • darii

    My professor is using it in our sociology class today

  • Guest

    I am working on creating an LGBT resource desk at my college, as a part of our ALLY club. I am definately going to post this!

  • J. Renée Beach

    Is Sexual Orientation an attraction to another person’s sex or gender or gender expression? This scale is the one I have the most trouble understanding because Homo-, Bi- and Hetero- don’t really capture the human expression. It’s almost the multiple of sex x gender x gender expression = person to whom I might be attracted.

  • Ranoldus

    Interesting chart, but how will it be used in practise? I mean it can be used in good ways and bad ways. And there is something absolutely missing. The most controversial is gender expression. Because I think quite some women I would say that their expression is not that feminine.

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  • Jason

    Gender Gumby! A great thing to have to explain, yet I always hated filling it out. I could never decide where to put anything besides biological sex.

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  • Sabrina Balseiro

    May I ask a question? I am female,but I feel more masculine,I actually don’t like feminine things as much as I like masculine things and I feel like I should have been born a gay man,but damned to be in this hideous female body,what does this make me? I identify more with the men,am female by biological senses, I dress feminine every now and then but prefer more of the masculine things,but I have long hair and wear make up at times (Not always) and I am heterosexual,I am really confused,can someone help?