Glossary of termsThere are 67 entries in this glossary.
While “sex” usually refers to a person’s physical anatomy, the term “gender” usually refers to mental, social, and cultural characteristics, regardless of anatomy, related to being a boy, girl, man, or woman in our society.
A person’s innermost sense of himself or herself as boy or man, girl or woman. This is not simply determined by “sex chromosomes,” by surgery, or by how a child is raised. It is also not chosen by an individual.
A part that a person plays as a boy, girl, man, or woman in our society. So, for example, being a mother is a gender role.
No matter how they end up in terms of sex development, all embryos have genital folds early in the womb, prior to sex development. These folds later develop into the labia majora in most girls and the scrotum in most boys. Children with DSDs sometimes have external genital structures that look in-between labia and scrotum.
Present in all embryos in early development, the genital tubercle is a structure of the external genitalia that develops into the phallus (in other words, the clitoris or penis).
“Gonads” is a general term for the sex glands. The term “gonad” can refer to an ovary, a testis (testicle), an ovotestis, or a streak gonad. Mature ovaries usually release eggs until menopause, while mature testes usually produce sperm. In addition, the gonads release hormones that affect the development of the reproductive organs at puberty and affect other physical traits that, after puberty, usually make men and women look different, such as pitch of the voice and body shape and size.
Atypical formation of the gonads early in gestation. In complete gonadal dysgenesis, the gonads don't function at all, resulting in female genitalia. In partial gonadal dysgenesis, the testes function, but not at the same level as typical testes, resulting in ambiguous genitalia. In mixed gonadal dysgenesis, a streak gonad develops on one side, and a partially developed testis on the other side.
Common in all embryos prior to sex development, gonadal ridges consist of tissue that develops into gonads (ovaries, testes, ovotestes, or gonadal streaks).
Gonadal streaks are poorly developed gonad tissue present in place of testes or in place of ovaries in some people with DSDs.
A "gonadectomy" is a surgery that removes the sex glands (ovaries, testes, or ovotestes).
Gynecomastia refers to the enlargement of a man’s breasts, usually due to a hormone imbalance or to hormone treatments.