(This is a completely indirect answer to the question, so feel free to downvote.)
My husband, dog, and I were travelling through a French-speaking community and stopped to walk our dog. A lady wanted to meet our dog, and we started chatting (or rather, my husband did since my French is terrible). At one point, the lady asked us this question about our dog: "Beau ou belle?"
By setting up an alternative of the masculine and feminine forms of the adjective, she was asking if our dog is male or female.
This wording relies on the language having grammatical gender and requiring agreement. I don't believe it is possible to translate it directly into English. Asking something like "handsome or beautiful?" would likely not be understood as inquiring about the dog's gender, and furthermore relies on outdated notions of beauty and gender.
Asking "beau ou belle?" seems less direct than how we'd typically ask in English (e.g. "Is it a boy or a girl?" or "Is it a 'he' or a 'she'?"). The indirectness of the question feels (to me, at least) more polite than the English alternatives, and quite appropriate to the situation of talking with strangers on the street.
belto be used for male gender when the next word starts with a vowel sound:
un bel arbre/un bel homme.