Gender symbols and the Sekushii font
December 27, 2002

Gender symbol fonts

I was struck by the lack of complete fonts with gender symbols. The TeX/Metafont community lives with Denis Roegel's Genealogy font, created in 1996 and updated in 1999. Denis Roegel essentially compiled the genealogical symbols found in Roland Waldi's Wasy font (1992), which has a male and female symbol set, and Knuth's "gen" font, and added the standard symbols for males and females.

The truetype world probably is most acquainted with Marvin Vogel's useful (and free!) symbol font Marvosym, which contains symbols for sexless, male, female and hermaphrodite. Marvin recognizes that there are other people in this world besides straight males or females, but the symbol he suggests for hermaphrodites is not the one used by or suggested by the world of sex experts [read on below]. Curtis Clark made the free font called Female and Male Symbols (1996), which contains the same gender symbols as Marvosym.

WordPerfect's WP IconicSymbolsA (1993) just has a male and a female symbol.

There are, of course, a number of commercial outfits that have the standard pair of gender symbols in some of their fonts. Particularly artistic are P22's Koch Signs 3 and Koch Signs 4. Whether by design or accident, these also have a glyph for hermaphrodites. An even more complete set is Ann's Astro family of fonts from Dingbatcave (Ann Stretton), at 10 dollars per style.

Unicode has reserved position 9792 for the female sign, and 9794 for the male sign. Nothing is reserved for the others. Some Unicode fonts indeed do have these two characters. However, no Unicode font has more than this bare minimum, and thus, the Unicode path is a cul-de-sac.

So, that is the current state of affairs. The world's gay community started using their own symbols, derived from those for male (the symbol for Mars) and female (the symbol for Venus). But, not to be left out, the bisexuals, both male and female by birth, suggested their own glyphs. Outnumbered but not outgunned, the hermaphrodites picked their own symbol, that of Mercury. But it does not end there. The transexuals do not fit into any of the above categories, so they have their own symbols. Transgendered people are usually defined as those who are aware of all people of all sexual orientations and preferences, and approach relationships in a gender-free manner. Well, they have their own symbol. I never located the symbol for eunuchs, but I am sure there must be one. Of course, the combinations multiply. However, I refuse to create symbols for gay hermaphrodites, transsexuals who like eunuchs, and males who had two sex change operations (to get back to where they started from).

If you have a special request though, send it to me, and I will see if I can make a font for you. Always for free, of course.

The symbols

The ultimate place for symbols is the highly recommended site For definitions of transsexual, transgender, bisexual, and other terms, see here. Some symbols are shown here. Official books always lag behind, so I went looking for what people actually use to represent different sexual orientations, preferences and situations. At present, the world seems to agree on the following symbols:

Mars, or Tuesday: symbol for males.

Venus, or Friday: symbol for females.

Gay males.

Gay males.


Aware of the joint cause of gays and lesbians. Also (sometimes) transsexuals. Also, quite universally in science, used for hermaphrodites. See here. states that it is used in botany for double-sexed plants. Also, (sometimes) heterosexuals in general. See here or here.

Bisexuals. Sometimes used for people fighting for gay and lesbian rights.

Transgender. See here.

Another symbol for transgender: see here.


Bisexuals, as proposed here. Closely related in some places to the symbol for bisexual men.

Bisexual men.

Bisexual women.

Mercury, or Wednesday: Hermaphrodites. See here. The Greek equivalent of Mercury is Hermes, hence the name. Apparently, biologists use this for hermphrodites.

The Sekushii font

The Sekushii font is part of the Sugaku series. It has all the symbols above, in many sets, both light and medium weight. There are straight-arrowed sets for combining with sans serif text, flared arrows for serif text, and fun experiments and extensions with various sexual undertones. And, it is free! Have a ball.

  • PFA file
  • PFB file
  • AFM file
  • PFM file
  • TFM file
  • TTF file
  • ZIP file

  • Copyright © 2002 Luc Devroye
    School of Computer Science
    McGill University
    Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6