On Coming Out: Gender Spectrum, pt. 3

Alright! It’s Friday!  I hope everyone has some good times planned ahead for the weekend.  I, for one, am going to be spending some time with friends.  Translated this means I’m going to be snuggled up to my computer screen with a blanket and a steaming cup of tea.  The new season of My Mad Fat Diary has come out and I’ve been itching to go watch the magnificent Rae in all her glory and keen insight into mental illness.

Special notice to Ellen Page (again) for opening up this series on gender, orientation, and human rights.  Hopefully, you all remember her coming out speech last Valentine’s Day at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Time to Thrive” event.

Last week the topic of conversation previewed the idea of a gender spectrum.  If you are not familiar with this, check it out!

The Gender Spectrum: An Introduction

What is the gender spectrum?  There are probably many definitions and charts that can describe this diverse spectrum.  However, what all these explanations have in common is the recognition that a gender binary is no longer a viable way to categorize human beings.

The Binary is a myth, a cultural idea that has captivated generations and even religions for many (many) centuries.  As I shed my childhood notions of the world, it became virtually permeated throughout my life experiences that the world is not, and has never been, black or white.

The gender binary suggests that there are only two ways that someone can identify as: Male or Female.

Research defines “gender” in three possible manners.  The first, is the biological definition which relies on the combination of chromosomes, hormones, and DNA.  The second is “self-presentation.”  This encompasses personal identification of sex.  The third is the most widely conceived notion of gender.  It involves the “gendered” expectations of human being.

For example, let’s say someone sits next to you on the train.  What do you notice first?  When we first meet someone, one of the first characteristics we are looking for is whether this person is a “male” or a “female.”  Are they  attractive, do they act according the way a woman or man should act?  Due to the popular cultural inclinations to identify each other as either one gendered role or the other, we are confused if that person fits neither.

The possible combinations of the chromosomes in a human body can be made out of X and Y chromosomes.  Some examples of theses combinations are: XXX, XX, XXY, XY, and XYY.  There are definitely more than just two.  The same idea can be applied to the many sexual orientations and roles that males and females are now filling.

Ten years ago the political world was more concerned with what Hilary Clinton was wearing instead of what she was saying.  Twenty years ago, the idea that a woman did not have to be married was new and controversial.  Today, women and the LGBT community are experiencing wide attention in regards to rights, recognition, and equality.

One of the goals that should be emphasized more is acceptance.  The roles in which people are now filling have influenced the attitudes and values that we come across in every day society.  The manner in which women are represented in the media effects the manner in which we live in our everyday lives and how we treat others as well.

From birth, one quick check between the legs has placed human beings into one manner of life or the other.  This “identification” or pigeon-holing (as I like to call it) has led to strong cultural expectations that make it seem like it is necessary for someone who doesn’t fit the description to “come out.”

I admire and respect anyone who is brave enough to face the criticism and ignorance that doesn’t accept someone as they are.  However, I am hoping that one day “coming out” doesn’t have to be announcing one’s differences.  Instead, maybe we can raise awareness about the diversity that exists within our very DNA.  That we can learn to see each other as friends, “us,” and not “other.”

Disclaimer: I acknowledge that I am not an expert on this subject.  Anything said and surmised is my own opinion and should be used as an introduction to your own research.  If there’s anything new or different that should be added, let me know and we’ll process it together 🙂


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