How to discuss biological sex, gender, and gender identity in Japanese. : Hey guys, how is it going today? We have a somewhat popular yet controversial subject to discuss with you today. We are going to be talking about how to talk about Gender Identity in Japanese. Gender identity seems to be coming to the forefront of a lot of debates these days and we want to get you clued up on the way Japanese refer to specific identity terms.

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Learn about pansexual Japanese words

Here at Bondlingo we are supportive of all individuals and their choices. We intend for this article to be informative and unbiased in the simple pursuit of knowledge.

So everyone, are you ready to get started? Let’s jump right in.  

Let’s learn about pansexual Japanese words.
Let’s learn about pansexual Japanese words.

the term is also thrown about to refer to effeminate (usually gay) men, drag queens, and trans women, and not necessarily in derogatory ways.

I’m a straight man or woman, how should I refer to my identity?

If you are a straight man or woman then you should refer to yourself as:


Undoubtedly the most common sexual orientation, nonke means “straight” in Japanese. You could actually also use the word ストレート Su – To – Ree – To in Japanese to represent your identity much like in English however “Nonke” will get your point across much more clearly as ストレート could also be linked to directions too like in English.

I’m Gay! How can I get the message out in Japanese?

If you are gay, you can simply use the word:


ゲイ ・ GEI ・ “GAY”

Gei is probably the most commonly used expression to describe this orientation. Like in English, ゲイ and “gay” are extremely similar in terms of meaning and usage.

Another more “Japanese” style word you can use to describe this orientation would be:


This directly translates into “same sex love” As you can see from the Kanji it literally portrays

同 Dou “SAME
性  Sei “GENDER”
愛 Ai  “LOVE

What an awesome set of Kanji!

Now if you are specifically wanting to describe your orientation as lesbian, you can use


Now you shouldn’t have too much trouble when it comes to remember this one as it sounds much like it’s English counterpart. The way it is used to describe relation ships and orientation is also the same.

Hang on! I am Bisexual, how do I get that across?

If you lean towards members of both sexes you can use this word to describe your orientation as “Bisexual”:


You can probably guess that this is a loan word from English. This can also be shortened, much like in English, to simply バイ bai. Much like in our earlier example with 同性愛 meaning “same sex love” you can also use 両性愛 りょうせいあい Ryouseiai. 両 in this case means “both”.

This word is not longer very common however so definitely something to more be aware of than actually use.

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Other orientation describing words in Japanese

Now we are not going to cover every single orientation today as we would certainly be here a while, but we just want to give you a few more useful terms that will get you clued up on some more gender related terms.


This phrase is used to describe those individuals that have passed from one Gender to another. This is a very common word within the LGBTQ circles around Japan. However this word might not be very commonly known by the average population in Japan as it is still a relatively new concept.


Nyuuhaafu is also an English loan word that means “transvestite”. The words new and half describe the combination of a person exploring a new half of themselves. It is used in a much more informal and possibly even offensive context so be careful when you come to use this one.


Queer is becoming a more popular term to use thanks to the TV show “Queer eye” which did air a few episodes in Japan. As a relatively new term it’s quite hard to say if this will catch on yet as much as it has in the west.


Okama is Japanese slang for “Gay man” and usually refers to the individuals with the more feminine traits and behaviour. This phrases, although a lot more rough and formal, isn’t always an insult.

Well guys, there we have it. We hope that todays online Japanese lesson from Bondlingo has opened your eyes to a whole new range of vocabulary and offered a more interesting element to your study schedule today.

As always if you have any questions or ideas for other content that you would like us to write about please do not hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch. We really look forward to seeing you all in the next online Japanese lesson from Bondlingo. 


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