In today’s world, gender has been an overlooked topic in society. But what some may not be aware of that there are more than just your basic male (boy) and female (girl) gender. Hence, to point out clearly, there are many different genders that people in the world use to identify themselves. Our generation needs to understand and know the variety of genders that are out there, as it is important for what they want to be known and referred to as.
What can gender identity possibly be? According to psychology, gender identity is an individual’s internalized belief about being a male or female, which may or may not be the same as the biological sex exhibited at birth. (Schallhorn) Your biological sex would be if you are a male or female that was able to be seen within an ultrasound inside the womb or when you were simply born to the outside world. If you were assigned as a male, it would mean two things. Your chromosomes and genitalia. A male’s chromosomes contain an X and Y. If the Y chromosomes are present it is responsible for the development of a male. With that being said you can also know if it’s a male by their reproductive system. A male’s reproductive system consists of sex organs (penis and testicle) that have a role of reproduction. During puberty, males change such as having a flat chest, Adam’s apple, excessive body hair, muscular muscles. (Wolchover) For females, they have a double X chromosome. If the Y chromosome is not present in a fetus, it goes under female development. Their reproductive system contains the following: ovaries, uterus, and vagina. Like males, they also go through puberty but very differently. Having breasts that secrete milk, small cartilage voice boxes, less body hair, and a curvy body structure. (Wolchover) Originally there are two biological sexes and genders, male and female. As time seems to change new sexes and gender was formed. For instance, transgender also called transsexual. Those who differ in gender identity from their biologically define sex are known to be transgender. (Schallhorn) Well, known transgenders include Jazz Jennings, Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, and many more. From their point of view of being transgender is very highly judged from society and sometimes life-threatening. But they appear in tv shows, movies, interviews and radio stations that people like and support for who they are. Along with transgender, there is androgyny. Androgyny is a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Also known as intersex. Sometimes it is not seen very clearly the masculine and feminine traits. So how would they simply dress? Do they dress in female clothes or male clothes? There is a term called unisex, where styles are suitable for both genders. A prime example of androgyny people would be Ruby Rose, Adam Lambert, Kristen Stewart, and so forth. Overall, gender identity is something very common in the world but still being understood. Though it’s crucial where we need to be informed that biological sex doesn’t correlate with gender.
Within the community of genders, there is a gender spectrum. This spectrum breaks down’s society’s traditional and outdated ways of understanding genders. The spectrum contains gender identity, gender expression, and gender roles. Since gender identities have to with one’s perception of having a particular gender. Like male, female, transgender, androgyny, agender, etc. Could gender expression and roles be the same thing? Is it all linked together? Gender expression is explained by one’s behavior, mannerisms, interests, and appearance. It may include clothing, hairstyles, makeup, and social expressions like names or pronouns. Some examples of gender expressions would be androgynous, gender-neutral, and feminine/masculine. (Gender Identity) Some of the population may have the same expressions all the time though some may change their expressions due to time or some situations. For instance, gender-fluid. It wasn’t commonly used till the 1980s, where expression shifts between the masculine and feminine. You may know someone who may have used this term before or heard of it somewhere. Besides that, back then from today’s time gender roles were taken very differently. These roles we’re expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct towards our assigned sex. (Parenthood) It can correlate with stereotypes too. Where females are to reproduce heirs for the male, stay at home to take care of the children, and just do chores around the house. Males, on the other hand, have to sustain the family, go to work, and pass down their wealth to their oldest child. According to today, it can be both genders. There are males today that take the role of females and females that take the role of the male. It wasn’t troubling when roles were switched but there are some in the population who live on or believe in the old traditional roles than modern roles. With everything else, it shouldn’t be assigned what roles would be taken or assigned to which gender you are identified.
They say that sexual orientation connects with your gender. But it is very different from gender. Sexual Orientation is who you’re attracted to and want to have relationships with. (LGBTQ Info) This may include lesbian, gay, bisexual, straight, and asexual. Now, sexual orientation connects with sexual attraction. Therefore, it could be interest or romantic. As your body has an emotional response where you find someone sexually appealing and desire for sexual contact with the person. What was said in the beginning, you can be attracted to the same gender as yourself, the opposite gender, or not at all. If you classify as a straight person, you’re a heterosexual. Heterosexuality is when you are attracted to the opposite gender than yourself. So, this can be a male who is attracted to a female or a female attracted to a male. After heterosexual, there is homosexual. An example would be gay or lesbian. The term gay is where a male is sexually attracted to their gender. It may be used for females as well that are attracted to the same gender as them. Though it most commonly used for males. Next, would be lesbian. The word lesbian is where a female is attracted to another female. They can also be used to classify what they are sexually attracted to. What happens if you are into both genders at the same time? Is there a term for that? Likely so, that there is. It called bisexual. Bisexual is when a person is romantically or sexually attracted to both male and female genders. Although what if you’re not attracted to either. Asexual also known as “aces” is described as a lack of sexual attraction towards others. (Barrell) Now all these sexual orientations exist on a spectrum. Some may be common within society while some aren’t so recognized. We are all aware of LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, etc.) Its everywhere on tv shows, movies, radio stations, magazines, books, and so on. According to GLAAD, in 2017, only 12.8% of major studio movies showed any LGBTQ characters. Of the few that did, 64% showed gay men, 36% showed lesbian, and 14% showed bisexual women or men – and these characters were all cisgender. (Brabaw) In today’s generation, the sexual orientation community is bit approve by society, unlike back then. In some religions and countries, it is considered taboo or even illegal. This may include death. As time goes by, maybe these orientations and genders will be fully accepted.
Along with sexual orientation and gender, there is an academic field called gender studies. To sum up, on what gender studies can be, basically, it is analyzing gender identity and gender representation. Along with women/men and queer studies. The field may also offer all together with the study of sexuality. Besides, this field isn’t something offered in some colleges or universities around the world. You’d be in luck if there was at your school. At a college or university, you’d be hard-pressed to find a department that brands itself as simply Gender Studies. (Zaborskis) Within the studies, you be learning the letters G, W, S, including Q and F. Now when you see these letters what they signify? Well, of course, applying it towards the field, G(gender), W(women), S(sexuality), Q(queer), and F(feminine). According to Zaborskis, the field has developed over the last several decades, as well, the understanding and critiquing of our world. A woman named Robyn Wiegman who is a professor at Duke University taught in Literature and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies. Wiegman states that she has tracked some anxieties that have emerged from women studies in which it decenters women and erases the feminist activism that gives the rise of the field. (Zaborskis) Some may say what’s the point in having this curriculum. But it has a lot of benefits especially if you interested in understanding the spectrum that is out there. Once again gender is an overlooked topic within our generation, despite all the different varieties. And having more people in this field would have a greater cause of accepting what gender really is.
Lastly, the gender we see today. We can all say it is indeed different than the 20th century or even way back. It was mentioned earlier there were just two genders – male and female. Then transgender surfaced along with many other genders. Now that all these genders exist what would it be in a workspace or school? It’s important to recognize this distinction because binary thinking around gender can exclude a large – and overlooked – part of the workforce. (McLaren) Though in the work field you may have a coworker or friend that is transgender or not. Some transgenders are careful when they are in the workspace as everyone may not agree to the gender they specify as. There is an estimate of 1.4 million transgender adults in the US today, representing about 0.6% of the adult population. (McLaren) That seems to be a lot to some, but it is really not. It’s not just only adults that are transgender, teens to children identify themselves as transgender.
- Brabaw, Kasandra. “Allosexual, Demisexual, Bicurious-& Other Sexualities You Need To Know.” Sexuality List Of Sexual Orientation Types, Definitions, 18 June 2019, www.refinery29.com/en-us/sexual-orientation-types-of-sexualities.
- “Gender Identity & Expression.” SmartSexResource, smartsexresource.com/topics/gender-identity-expression.
- McLaren, Samantha. “15 Gender Identity Terms You Need to Know to Build an Inclusive Workplace.” LinkedIn Talent Blog, 20 May 2019, business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/diversity/2019/15-gender-identity-terms-for-inclusive-workplace.
- Parenthood, Planned. “Gender Identity & Roles: Feminine Traits & Stereotypes.” Planned Parenthood, 2020, www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/gender-identity/sex-gender-identity/what-are-gender-roles-and-stereotypes.
- Parenthood, Planned. “LGBTQ Info For Teens: Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity.” Planned Parenthood, 2020, www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/sexual-orientation.
- Schallhorn, Charles D. Psychology: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination. Perfection Learning, 2017.
- Wolchover, Natalie. “Men vs. Women: Our Key Physical Differences Explained.” LiveScience, Purch, 22 Sept. 2011, www.livescience.com/33513-men-vs-women-our-physical-differences-explained.html.
- Zaborski’s, Mary. “Gender Studies: Foundations and Key Concepts.” Daily Jstor, 29 Nov. 2018, daily.jstor.org/reading-list-gender-studies/.