Source Nadine Schwickart©
Discovering the conversation being had around gender is very rewarding. As a cisgender woman in the twenty-first century I haven’t had to think about gender too much because of how the world is constructed to be accessible to me on many levels. People often express their confusion as to why there are so many gender identities these days and that its just kind of silly, kind of like a trend. Of course these are people who have been privileged enough to not have their assigned gender ever be a source of anguish. There are many different genders being expressed because there are as many genders as people in the world. Feminine and masculine attributes can help define certain aesthetics, but an aesthetic does not a person make. Genitalia does not gender make.
Gender is identity, whichever identity you chose for yourself.
This conversation about gender constructs is gaining traction as the years go by, growing alongside millennials. It seems that gender conversations amongst Gen-Z is more common-place than ever. This is great news. The thing is, if you are straight and cisgender, and gender conversation bothers you, you can just chose blissful ignorance and call it a day. Because you can afford to.
But studying up on gender is really a way to be more connected and empathetic to the world we are currently living in. Fighting gender roles, whether you're cis or trans, is doing no one any harm and many people a lot of good—we are refusing to be caged in by social expectations and reduced to something we are not.
Labels are starting points for the purpose of having further conversation about gender, a tool. A word can never encapsulate a person. Some identities just scratch the surface of who you are.
So lets delve into some definitions and explanations that can help everyone understand a little more about the gender spectrum.
Source: M. Sharkey©
⬇ Gender most often refers to a set of social, psychological, and emotional traits, often influenced by societal expectations that classify an individual as “feminine” or “masculine”. It doesn't only stop at classifying individuals though, people use gender to classify objects, hobbies, clothes, even ships.
Gender Identity: A persons conception of their own gender.
Gender Expression: The performance of ones gender; especially how it is communicated to others through behavior and other forms of presentation.
Gender Role: Expectations about a particular gender, as influenced by society.
GENDER ≠ SEX People oftentimes confuse gender with sex. While gender refers to your identity and your expression of it, sex is a label that refers strictly to your body, specifically your reproductive organs.