Prompt: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a member of the opposite sex for a day?
The short answer is yes, since for a short time I thought I could be transgender. I have moved on since then to understand I am gender fluid. Since my teens and probably before that there have been times I have felt I am male despite my physically female attributes. At other times I do identify with the female but most of the time I am neither extreme I am neither; neither male nor female, I am gender neutral in fact.
The terminology of ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ has become interchangeable in western society; yet biological sex and gender are very different concepts. Gender is not inherently related to the physical attributes of the body.
Sex is a biological concept and covers the physical workings of the human body such as chromosomes, sexual hormones, reproductive structure and genitalia. It is these attributes that are used to identify us as male or female from the moment we are born, if not beforehand.
Gender is far more complex. It is the complex interaction and relationship between the physical traits and the sense of self as male, female, both or neither. It is also the outward presentation of how we dress and act given that perception.
Society views gender as being binary. There is male and there is female; and that is the rigid options with no in-between. So at birth a brief look between the legs is the gender label we are given and we are supposed to carry until we shuffle off the mortal coil, without questioning it. The biological evidence, however, shows there is a vast spectrum of anatomical differences and that alone could be said to prove that notion of only two genders is not only too simplistic but also inaccurate.
Beyond the rigidity of anatomy there are many other gender defining aspects each of which can be characterized over many possibilities. This vast gender spectrum gives a richer view of gender expression and identity than the binary model and indeed leads to a truer model of human gender.
From the day we are born expectations of gender bombard us and whether it be family, religion, friends, media or anything else and this is what influences our understanding of our gender identity. Gender is a socially constructed ideal, and almost everything in society is assigned to a gender – be it toys, clothing or activities. For example boys play with cars and girls with dolls. This social conditioning reinforces the gender expectations from that brief glance between the legs. For many it works out nicely, but there are also many people who feel out of sync and in the wrong place.
Gender fluidity is a wider and more flexible range of gender expression. It frees the individual from the restrictions placed on them at birth by genital identification and social expectation. Interests, behaviour and expression can change on a day to day basis depending if the individual feels male, female or even neither at all at any given time.
Love and light