There is a general misconception about what sex, gender, and sexuality are. What is genderqueer? If you look like a boy but consider yourself a transwoman, aren’t you just confused?
Over at It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, the internet has been blessed with a pretty goo edugraphic of “the genderbread person” to help explain it all to us.
Gender Identity: As with all others, this is a spectrum. It does not refer to the goods you’ve got in between your legs! Gender Identity is in your mind (no, not as an illness or fantasy). Take a transwoman, for instance. She was assigned male at birth (meaning she was born with dangly bits), but her brain does not connect to her assigned sex. Sex and Gender are different. Can you imagine waking up as the opposite sex one day and not being able to understand that the body in the mirror is yours? Imagine this being your life.
However, cisgender (meaning that you identify with your sex) and transgender aren’t the only two options. You can be agender (you don’t identify with any gender), genderqueer (identify with both genders to some degree. Doesn’t mean you identify 50% male and 50% female. It just means that, to some degree, you identify as both). There is also two-spirit which is a term coined by Native Americans.
Gender Expression: Gender Expression and Gender Identity are two completely different things. You can be a transman and dress feminine, be a transwoman and be masculine, be agender and dress aligned to the social stereotypes of your sex, or any other combination you can think of.
I am GenderQueer. I tend to dress masculine most of the time. Every once in a while I do dress more feminine. This does not mean I am “making up my mind” or anything else like that. It honestly probably just means I really like these skinny jeans and felt like wearing a bit of make up.
Other terms and variations on the spectrum include androgynous (for example, you ever seen a person you couldn’t tell was male or female? They may have been androgynous.) Androgynous is NOT the same thing as trans*. A person can consider themselves fully female and look male. This does not mean that they are confused about their gender identity. Gender Expression is how you present yourself to the world, not how you feel about yourself. Butch/Femme are terms common to lesbians. Butch lesbians are generally more masculine in their outfits, Femme’s are often much more feminine in their outfits. There is also Gender Neutral and Gender Fluid, meaning they flow back and forth comfortably in how they present themselves to the world.
Biological Sex: Biological Sex is what is assigned to you at birth and you develop through puberty. As the image above states, it includes genitalia, voice tone, body hair, body shape, etc.
Once again, Sex and Gender are NOT the same thing.
Within the spectrum of Sex is intersex. People whom are intersex used to be called hermaphrodites, but that term is offensive and should not be used.
Sexual/Romantic Attraction: Sexual Attraction and Romantic Attraction are also two separate entities. Sexual Attraction is as it states. People whom you are sexually attracted to. You wanna do the dirty with these folk. They get your juices flowing.
Romantic Attraction is emotional rather than sexual. They can be completely in love with a person and have no desire to have sex with them.
Also, a person can be sexually attracted to a certain gender(s) and romantically attracted to other gender(s). Equally so, you can be neither sexually nor romantically attracted to anyone. This is known as asexual.
There is no A or B, black or white, to the genderbread person. Everything is a spectrum and there can be a thousand combinations.
I can tell you what I am:
Gender Identity: GenderQueer
Gender Expression: Androgynous/Masculine
Biological Sex: Female
Sexual/Romantic Attraction: Female for both.
While I can only say that I am only sexually and romantically attracted to females, I have never been faced with a potential relationship with someone who wasn’t either male or female, so I cannot honestly give an opinion one way or another for any other gender.
What are your thoughts?