My tree includes a living relative who was born male and is now legally and otherwise female. My only record of the change, at this point, is an alternate name (I use GRAMPS). I have recorded her birth name and gender as male--it's perhaps worth noting that this person did father children, so her original "maleness" needs to be preserved. However, her eventual death record will refer to her as female and I feel that documenting this as a name change only is insufficient.

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    Does GRAMPS support more than the binary male/female concept? What about biological females that take the role of a male or vice versa? What about Turner syndrome (XO), Triple X syndrome (XXX), Klinefelter's Syndrome, (XXY/XXXY), XYY syndrome (XYY), de la Chapelle syndrome (XX male), Swyer syndrome (XY female)? If you just want to know your ancestors it may be ok to ignore everything inhibiting reproduction, but that is a very limited approach. Oct 11, 2012 at 9:01
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    GEPS 027: Gender as an Entry Field (Feature request 5730 Make Gramps more functional for LGBT data) gramps-project.org/wiki/…
    – Sam
    Dec 18, 2012 at 6:19

5 Answers 5


Your chosen software (GRAMPS) gives you the flexibility to deal with this as suggested by ColeValleyGirl. When you create an event, the types in the list offered are suggestions only. So overwrite with your choice (in this case, Gender Reassignment) and create the event as usual.

The new type will be retained for future use in that tree. So you can enter dates and places (and sources) for each of "began hormone therapy", "adopted new name", "surgery" or whatever you believe is relevant. They will be distinct events but have in common the new category.

When you enter the "alternative name" in the person panel, you could create a name note that explicitly refers to the appropriate event.

Note also that the types of name (birth, aka etc) are also suggestions. You may wish to add your own category (by overtyping what is presented) to make obvious to future readers that this is not some form of typographical error. Perhaps you could use "New Identity".

Unfortunately the "gender" categories are one of the few lists that are fixed in GRAMPS. You will need to decide if it is acceptable to your family to list the person as "unknown".

  • Am commenting on my own answer because of some reservations about its specificity. I tried to deal with the issues raised by Robert Caitano. BUT is this too much on "how to use GRAMPS"?
    – Fortiter
    Oct 11, 2012 at 5:12
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    I do not think this is a "too much" circumstance. I don't think experts would see this as a basic, "how do I" question."
    – GeneJ
    Oct 13, 2012 at 1:20

In the software I use (Family Historian), I have created a custom "Gender Reassignment" event -- can you create a similar event in your software?

I've also recorded the person's gender of choice, but recorded a birth event based on their original birth registration (with an associated note to explain why the individual's gender doesn't match the gender on the birth certificate) and an alternate name (with the same note). The software I use supports recording same-sex couples, so children in his previous incarnation (if there ware any) would be recorded without problems.

All this is not published on the web, just held in my private records.

  • So how does the software display and deal with the apparent discrepancy? Going beyond "use the Gender Reassignemt function" will be more generally helpful to other who don't use this software, and those who don't use any software at all. Oct 10, 2012 at 15:56
  • The software displays the fact that the individual went through a Gender Reassignment event, in a time ordered list of facts and events associated with the individual, thus showing that they changed their gender (in this case) from female to male. Viewed in context with all the other facts and events associated with them, this explains why their birth certificate has a female name/gender but they use a male name and married as a male etc.
    – user104
    Oct 10, 2012 at 15:57
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    I would agree with this approach. It's an event (like a name change, or even country of residence) which affects the context of later records. Each event stores the name (or gender, or residence) of the person at the time of the event, so as you say a timeline will make clear it's the same person.
    – Rob Hoare
    Oct 11, 2012 at 3:22

I have the same situation in my Gramps tree. As far as I know, there is no standard way of doing it. I chose to leave the sex unspecified, to record a custom event for the sex/gender change and to clarify the situation with additional notes. Not very satisfying for me.


The terms gender and sex are sometimes confused.

• Sex is either male or female and so reflects a biological difference. This includes physical, hormonal, and genetic characteristics.

• Gender is either masculine or feminine and so reflects a social or cultural characteristic.

Gender reassignment therefore includes many more aspects than surgery alone, although it is still treated as a synonym of Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS).

Although cases of indeterminate sex at birth do occur, I would record the birth sex separately from the adopted gender. Unfortunately, I don't know of any commercial software product that makes this differentiation.

  • Welcome to the beta of Genealogy.SE! While this information is helpful, it's not really relevant to the question as asked.
    – warren
    Oct 10, 2012 at 19:02
  • What do you mean with "commercial software"? Is it opposed to free software (like GRAMPS)? Oct 11, 2012 at 9:08
  • My suggestion was to treat birth sex separately and so the clarification was necesssary. By "commercial software" I actually meant both paid-for and free and so I accept that the term wasn't accurate. I write all my own software for private use and that was the distinction I wanted to make, i.e. nothing I know of "off the shelf".
    – ACProctor
    Oct 12, 2012 at 9:09
  • interesting answer. Might you have a reference for the distinction between "gender" and "sex."
    – GeneJ
    Oct 13, 2012 at 1:17
  • Just google for something like "difference between sex and gender".
    – ACProctor
    Oct 13, 2012 at 12:23

Sex and gender are actually not totally binary so the apps that don't allow anything else are outdated.

There is also a privacy concern and respect issue in how you record information about a transitioned individual because the information can be harmful to them. It may not be widely known by an employer, family, government, etc... So you would essentially be outing them by placing all the details in your records.

You should respect what the individual wants.

  • You are right, and the software you use should be able to mark some stuff as exportable or not. So you can register information that you want to have, but also control what is exported to others. But yes, your comment is good to remind about this (I didn't thought about it before you posted this)
    – Anders
    Dec 4, 2018 at 13:47

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