Explaining the intricacies of the transgender world
April 10, 2017
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In recent years, a very touchy and controversial subject has emerged from the the legalization of gay marriage in 2015. The idea that gender can come in millions of forms, (yes millions) is rising and the opinions of the people are also escalating, but in different ways. Each of those opinions, all diverse from each other, will give a glimpse on how in depth this issue is. The main controversy surrounds the question of is gender given to you at birth or is it a choice?
What are these new genders?
Gender is something that is a huge part in any society. From the Native American free spirit to the aboriginal “third gender” (which has also had the same concepts in other Asian religions), gender is a big part of who we are. The gender binary is what resides in physical and biological sex, but non-binary is where an abundance of other genders coincide.
When it comes to non-binary, there are a lot of genders like agender, bigender and demigender; along with genders with fluidity like genderfluid and genderqueer. These new gender expressions are not permanently male or female, making them outside of the binary, or non binary.
Gender lies in a lot of places according to Arvada West students. On a Google poll, 64.3% of the participating student body said that gender is indeed based off of the biological “plumbing” that people are born with. The other 35.7% says that gender is in a person’s brain. 71% of the students knew what the term non binary is.
As the gender controversy gets more and more attention, more people at A-West know about it. Social Studies teacher Mandy Kelver, who teaches in her World Geography classes about other cultures and the way they impact the world around us, discusses the reality of the meaning of what it means to be non-binary and shows us that not all people are confused about the different types of gender expressions. “Binary is just being that basic kind of male female, so non binary would be not necessarily fitting into those two kind of closed in boxes.”
Google defines the term non binary as “not relating to, composed of, or involving just two things.” People who identify as non binary also tie into neither male or female, other people who identify with gender-fluidity tie into both male and female, opposite to agender. Those identities are more commonly heard than some of the other gender expressions. People are now using pronouns such as they/them to describe their fluid gender identities.
What about a person who identifies as non binary? Aaron Brown, an agender student at A-West, discusses the genders with which people can identify. “I believe that sometimes these genders can get out of hand with these imaginary genders but there [are] more genders than just the gender binary male and female. There’s agender, demigender… I don’t really know exactly how many. There aren’t like three million, but I do think that there [are] definitely at least more than ten.” Brown asserts, “I feel basically a lack of gender, basically agender, no gender”.
But what about students who are heterosexual? Freshman Emma Hawkins, who identifies as straight, spoke about the number of genders that she believes exists. “Female, male and then like genderfluid.” Genderfluid is a mix of male and female in which the person either feels a sense of masculinity or femininity every day. This means that their gender changes on a daily basis, making it a fluid concept.
Sex v.s Gender
Recently, there have been a lot of new “trans” other than transgender. Other entities using trans such as transabled, transracial and transage has nothing to do with gender. Being transgender is having the desire to be a different gender or feeling out of place due to the gender a person was assigned at birth. Sophomore Noah Engelhardt discusses gender identity from his perspective: “My opinion is there are two genders. Gender is a biological thing.” Engelhardt believes that gender and sex are “the same”.
Scientists agree that gender is something of the mind and not just biology. “Gender is something that is taught to us, it is not something that we are born with” states Discovery News Plus on their YouTube Channel. Gender and sex are two separate parts of a person. According to Monash University, “Sex refers to biological differences, chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs. Gender describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine.”
Culture plays an important role in gender. Culture develops different life styles, including gender. Perceptions of the world and the ways people grow up can be polar opposites, meaning that all perceptions of gender are different. It depends on the culture that the person is being immersed in. Sex is something biological: sex is the reproductive organs people are born with, not their identity. Gender expression isn’t the reproductive organs a person is born with, but rather cultural surroundings and overall expression of yourself and what it means to be you.
What would you do if your mother came out as non binary?
“I would always be supportive. Just because I don’t always get things doesn’t mean they don’t mean something to other people.”
“I’d be fine with it… … “I don’t really care.”
“I’d be totally fine with it because I identify as non binary myself so it would be hypocritical to not be okay with what she is.”
“I really don’t know.
I’ve always called her mom so I would probably stick to it,
but I would respect her decision.”