Kem and Doy

In modern English, there do not appear to be any generally accepted terms identifying people by their genital configuration and secondary sex characteristics without having to invoke gender and the social convention surrounding it, as “AMAB” and “AFAB” do. While those terms (and a few others) allow discourse to function to a certain degree, they continue to feel a bit awkward for the task at hand. It would seem useful to have unanalyzable terms for each of these categories.

Thus, let the word “kem” /kɛm/ refer to a person with traditionally Y-chromosomal physical traits (both in terms of genitalia and in terms of secondary characteristics), and the word “doy” /dɔɪ/ refer to a person with traditionally X-chromosomal traits. These terms are intended to be used as adjectives, but could be repurposed as nouns if necessary.

Now, of course, there are a lot of people who have traits from both categories, often with one of them being dominant. That’s okay, since there’s no need for these two words to be mutually exclusive — one can be mostly doy but have a couple of kem features, or fairly equally distributed between the two. The important thing is that these words refer to aspects of physical bodies, rather than gender identities. Additionally, they refer to aspects of a person’s physical body regardless of how they came to possess it — thus, a kem person is kem even if they were born doy, and vice versa.

Etymologically, the word “kem” is at some level inspired by the term “kemmer” in Ursula Le Guin’s work, although it isn’t clear whether that was conscious, or whether it only became apparent after the word had been coined. The word “doy”, on the other hand, is entirely a priori, with no known source of inspiration other than the need for a new word that didn’t already mean something in English.

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