Assigned Gender

(Redirected from IAFAB)

Assigned Gender, also called Assigned Gender at Birth (AGAB), Gender Assigned at Birth (GAAB), Designated Gender at Birth (DGAB) or Assigned Sex at Birth (ASAB), is a gender or sex assigned to infants, usually based on genitalia alone and reported on the infant's birth certificate.[1][2][3][4]

There are various definitions and versions of AGAB and its overall concept. These include:

  • AGAB (Assigned Gender at Birth): Referring to one's assigned sex. An example of this is AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth). Despite the terminological difference between sex and gender, sex assignment is commonly referred to as an assigned gender;[5]
  • AGAB (Assigned Gender at Birth): A less common use of the term - referring to the intangible decision made by the parent(s)/guardian(s) to treat the infant as a certain gender identity, which usually follows on throughout childhood and teenagehood. An example of this is AMAB (Assigned Male/Man/Boy at Birth);[6]
  • AGAA (Assigned Gender at Age): Referring to the intangible decision made by the parent(s)/guardian(s) to treat the infant, child, or teenager as a certain gender identity. An example of this is AMAC (Assigned Boy At Childhood);citation needed
  • CAGAB (Coercively Assigned Gender at Birth) / FAGAB (Forcefully Assigned Gender at Birth): Referring to one's coercive/forced sex assignment, usually in cases where an infant's body is medically altered to reflect either male or female genitalia. An example of this is CAMAB (Coercively Assigned Male at Birth);[7][8]
  • IAGAB (Intersex/Incorrectly Assigned Gender at Birth): Referring to an intersex infant's sex assignment, usually male or female especially in countries where intersex is not legally recognized or is unable to be assigned in one's birth certificate. May also refer to an incorrect assignment, especially in cases where the infant's intersex traits are not externally visible;[9]
  • ASAB (Assigned Sex at Birth): Referring to one's assigned sex, based on the infant's birth certificate. This is usually used over AGAB as to affirm the differences between sex and gender identity. An example of this is AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth).[2]

Terminology and Usage

Due to the definition of gender identity being a social/psychological aspect rather than a physical one (body sex), AGAB can be a potentially confusing concept. Historically, AGAB was designed with gender's secondary definition in mind - where gender is a synonym of body sex.[10] Whilst the definition of gender has changed over the years, AGAB as a concept has remained primarily the same. Despite the linguistic conflict, it is officially understood to refer to one's body sex, as that is how one's AGAB is determined.[1] Many English birth certificates use the term body sex for one's gender assignment, however whilst ASAB may be more linguistically correct in terms of definition, AGAB is still far more commonly used.

Individuals whose gender identity matches their birth assignment are referred to as cisgender, while individuals who have a gender identity that differs from their assigned gender may identify as transgender.[11] The difference or relationship between one's gender identity and assigned birth is referred to as one's gender modality.


Gender assignment as a clinical definition was historically referred to as natal male/female. This terminology was changed with the publishing of the the DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 Text Revision) in 2022, instead opting to use "individual assigned sex/gender at birth".[12] However, AGAB has existed earlier than 2022 and widely used amongst queer communities before its official presence in the DSM.[11]

Originally it was referred to as Sex/Gender Assigned At Birth (SAAB), and its usage traces back to the early 2000s.[13] Its variations also appeared in a similar timeframe, including CAGAB.[14][15][16]

The first appearances of AGAB are unknown, but it's been allegedly reported as appropriated from the intersex community.[17] Intersex individuals would use AGAB specifically in cases where an intersex individual is assigned a sex/gender other than intersex. This is reasoned with the notion that the definition of assigned refers to the medical reassignment often prescribed to intersex infants, which differs to the literary recording of one's sex. In a letter to the editor of Times-Call, Susana wrote:

Such people are often, unfortunately, “assigned” a sex (sometimes incorrectly) by doctors who perform a sex assignment surgery on the unconsenting child, to make their genitalia more closely resemble standard female or male genitals. This does not happen to non-intersex people, and it is not accurate to describe women or men as having been “assigned” a sex, when in actuality, their biological sex was simply observed and written down at birth.[17]

However this exclusivity has mostly been lost throughout the years, most likely due to the vague definition of assignment, that being "to designate or set (something) aside for a specific purpose"; as per linguistic manner, a recording of the birth sex (regardless of medical intervention) still meets the definition of an assignment.[18]

Recognition of Intersex or Other

Many countries do not legally recognize intersex or indeterminate as a valid record, and do not allow their documentation on birth certificates, passports, or other forms of identification. However some countries do allow the record and identification of intersex, including the correction of certificates for those that later discovered they were intersex. The amount of regions that have begun to recognize intersex classification have been steadily growing over the past few decades.

In 2016, Sara Kelly Keenan was the first US citizen to receive a birth certificate marking one's assigned sex as intersex.[19][20] Most Australians have been able to correct their birth certificates since 2009, or in some cases remove the sex field from their birth certificate entirely.[21] In 2013, German began to allow an indeterminate sex option on birth certificates.[22] In 2018, Alex Juergen became the first Austrian to receive an intersex marked birth certificate.[23] In 2016, Canadian transgender parent Kori Doty opted to not record their newborn's sex at all.[24]

Some activists have taken to the idea of removing the sex on birth certificates altogether.[25]

Dr Fiona Kelly, a law school professor, and Hannah Robert, a lecturer in law, wrote of the benefits of removing the assigned sex from one's birth certificate:

Having a gender identity that does not match the sex designation on a birth certificate can create confusion and potentially expose people to discrimination when an identity document is requested, such as when they register at a school or university or apply for a passport. ... Removing sex from birth certificates would also eliminate the need for the parents of an intersex child to choose a sex for their baby to be publicly recorded. This can be a highly difficult and emotional decision for parents and, in some instances, will not reflect the child’s understanding of their gender later on. Leaving the birth certificate blank allows the child to make that decision once they have the knowledge and maturity to confirm their gender identity."[25]

Assigned Sexes

Label Acronym Assigned Sex Flag Description Creator(s)
Assigned Female at Birth[26] AFAB Female [27] An assigned gender for individuals who have external sex traits that were identified as female. Ap
Assigned Intersex at Birth[19] AIAB Intersex [28] An assigned gender for individuals who were identified as intersex, or had their intersex traits recognized, at birth. plurgai
Assigned Male at Birth[29] AMAB Male [30] An assigned gender for individuals who have external sex traits that were identified as male. Ap
Assigned X at Birth[8] AXAB X [31] An assigned gender that is typically, but not exclusively, used for individuals with intersex traits. Ap
Coercively/Forcibly Assigned Female at Birth[8] CAFAB/FAFAB Female [32] A term for intersex individuals who were medically altered to a female sex at birth. interarchival (remade versions created by plurgai)
Coercively/Forcibly Assigned Male at Birth[8] CAMAB/FAMAB Male [32] A term for intersex individuals who were medically altered to a male sex at birth. interarchival (remade versions created by plurgai)
Intersex/Incorrectly Assigned Female at Birth[9] IAFAB Female [33] A term for individuals who are intersex and were assigned female at birth. interarchival
Intersex/Incorrectly Assigned Male at Birth[9] IAMAB Male [33] A term for individuals who are intersex and were assigned male at birth. interarchival
Unassigned at Birth[24] UAB Unassigned [34] A term for individuals who do not have an assigned gender at birth. Ap


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  4. Raveenthiran V. Neonatal Sex Assignment in Disorders of Sex Development: A Philosophical Introspection. J Neonatal Surg. 2017 Aug 10;6(3):58. doi: 10.21699/jns.v6i3.604. PMID: 28920018; PMCID: PMC5593477.
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  18. "assign - transcription, translation and pronunciation online". myefe, Accessed on 22 Jun, 2023.
  19. 19.0 19.1 O'Hara, Mary Emily. "Nation's First Known Intersex Birth Certificate Issued in NYC". NBC News, 30 Dec, 2016,
  20. Segal, Corinne. "Nation’s first known ‘intersex’ birth certificate issued in New York City". PBS News Hour, 5 Jan, 2017,
  21. Carpenter, Morgan. "On intersex birth registrations". Intersex Human Rights Australia, 13 Nov, 2009,
  22. Muller, Natalie. "Third sex". DW, 1 Nov, 2013,
  23. Savage, Rachael. Anarte, Enrique. "Austria issues first intersex birth certificate after four-year battle". Reuters, 17 Jul, 2020,
  24. 24.0 24.1 Koenig, Ronnie. "Transgender parent explains why they are raising baby without an assigned gender". Today, 18 Jul, 2017,
  25. 25.0 25.1 Dr Kelly, Fiona. "Removing sex from birth certificates". La Trobe University, Robert, Hannah, 29 Oct, 2018,
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  29. "AMAB". Merriam-Webster, Accessed on 19 Jun, 2023.
  30. beyond-mogai-pride-flags. "DMAB Flag". Tumblr, 15 Oct, 2020, Archived on 12 Feb, 2022.
  31. beyond-mogai-pride-flags. "AXAB Pride Flag". Tumblr, 9 Oct, 2020, Archived on 12 Feb, 2022.
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  33. 33.0 33.1 [Dead Link]
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