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Genital assumption is the belief that a person’s gender identity will match their anatomical genitalia. Along with social and binary assumptions, genital assumption is part of the prevailing Western gender ideology. It is a type of unmarked assumption.
Genital assumption holds true for the majority of the population, which is cisgender, but is not accurate for gender diverse individuals, including transgender people.
Genital assumption typically suggests that anyone born with a vagina will identify as female and anyone born with a penis will identify as male. While this is usually the case, this belief doesn’t hold true for transgender people, who identify as the opposite gender, gender fluid people, who identify as both genders, and others with gender diverse identities.
While the term genital assumption is most commonly used around birth, individuals continue making genital assumptions throughout their lives. They expect that individuals who look like females will have vaginas and that individuals who look like men will have penises. Again, while this usually holds true, it may not be the case for gender diverse individuals, such as transgender individuals who dress to match their gender identities without undergoing gender reassignment surgery or intersex people with male and female genitalia.
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