The comment on this question got me thinking about this wording: How can I delete my contributions and account to Parenting.SE?

I suggest we should set a policy on which term to use and edit as needed to maintain it.

  • I've placed my answer to this as an answer instead of in the question... if someone wants to advocate the opposite answer they're welcome to do so.
    – cabbey
    Apr 4, 2011 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


I don't see any problem here, since there is a clear distinction between "sex" and "gender" in English:

"gender" refers to culture and should be used when referring to men and women as social groups, while "sex" refers to biology and should be used when biological distinctions are emphasized.


  • did you see the outraged parent comment I linked to? clearly for some folks, there is a problem.
    – cabbey
    Apr 6, 2011 at 17:19
  • 2
    You have to realize that most non-native English speakers have a heavy bias concerning the word SEX. It's not their fault; let's blame the media. Also, I can imagine there's a certain fear of what the word implies in terms of what opposite-gender kids might do. Simply using the unambiguous word GENDER instead is such an easy workaround to these situations, I think there's rarely an argument against it. Apr 6, 2011 at 18:06
  • 1
    @torbengb Even if that's the case, I think it's a bit odd that native English speakers should be required (on an English Q&A site) to modify their verbiage in a case like this. I've also seen instances where "sex" was actually less strong a word for ESL speakers because, not being their native language, it doesn't have the knee-jerk reaction of "sex omg!" that it may for a native-language speaker of English.
    – Charlotte
    Apr 7, 2011 at 10:27
  • @Arlen: your "knee-jerk" comment is interesting because I see it the other way round; sex is more an act than a gender. I'm sure the simplest solution is that we all simply need to learn that it's okay to use sex and not edit every mention into gender. Apr 7, 2011 at 11:38

I think for the benefit of non-english-as-a-first-language folks we should settle on "gender". So for exampe:

"same sex" --> "same gender"
"opposite sex --> "opposite gender"

  • is there a typo in your answer? should it be opposite sex --> opposite gender? or am I missing something? Apr 6, 2011 at 3:14
  • good catch David, fixed.
    – cabbey
    Apr 6, 2011 at 4:40

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