For most sociology / psychology teachers Robert Stoller’s (1964) distinction between “biological sex” and “cultural gender” is probably the go-to definition to use when introducing this topic – and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using it you might want to flesh it out a little by pointing your students towards some more-contemporary ideas and definitions about the different between the two terms.
If that’s the case, the Office for National Statistics has produced a simple and accessible primer you can encourage your students to read – or you can cut-out-and-keep just the bits focused on sex and gender (the article discusses these concepts in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which might be a little distracting).
Either way, the main areas of interest here in relation to sex and gender are probably:
- Definitions and differences, as employed by the UK Government. Other definitions are, of course available, but these are, as you might expect, broadly similar.
- Variations in sex characteristics: This paragraph flags the concept of “intersex individuals” – people born with “naturally-occurring instances of variations in sex characteristics” who may identify as a man, a woman or non-binary.
- Transgenderism or the reassignment of a person’s sex.
The main advantage of the above is that the information is relatively short and to-the-point, but if you want to extend this into a wider discussion of something like LGBTQ+, this article goes into things in a little more depth.