Anonymous said: Can you explain to me what the gender binary is and why a lot of people are against it? I don't mean to offend anyone, I'm just very uneducated to subject and I want to learn about it.
I’ll try to do my best, dear anon!
First of all, gender is more of a spectrum than a binary (=two categories). This applies to both biology and identity.
People often use biology to prove that there are only Two Genders™, so I’ll start with explaining why this is incorrect.
Biologically we have primary and secondary sexual characteristics.
- gonads (ovaries, testes)
- sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone)
- chromosomes (XX, XY)
- appearance of genitalia (vagina, penis)
- distribution of body fat
- amount of body hair
- muscle mass
All of these sexual characteristics can be found in various combinations, though some are more common than others. Depending on our set-up we are assigned a gender at birth, most of the time our assigned gender matches with who we are (cis), sometimes it doesn’t (trans). Usually the assigned gender is just based on genitalia since babies don’t have secondary characteristics (and checking for gonads and chromosomes isn’t really standard). And for some reason the baby’s gender is The Most Important Information when someone had a baby….
People who’s biological set-up doesn’t match with society’s definitions of gender are intersex (example; chromosomes that don’t match genitalia or gonads). Some are identified as intersex at birth, some won’t know until they hit puberty or when they visit a doctor for some other problem. About 1,7% of all people are intersex (roughly 122 000 000 people. Thirteen times the entire population of Sweden, to put it into perspective)
Gender identity is in the brain, it’s a biological fact, it may not be known how and why, but that’s how it is and there’s nothing to do about it. Gender identity is as much of a choice as sexual or romantic orientation; it’s not something that you can change with willpower.
A lot of trans people are binary, they’re either male or female, no matter their biological set-up. Non binary people are those who do not identify strictly with male or female. They can be both (bigender, gender fluid), neither (agender, third gender), or just somewhere outside the binary.
We can now establish that neither biological gender or psychological gender is a binary thing. The binary system is problematic as it erases intersex and non binary people completely. We do not exist, we are not ”real people”, we are not important. The gender binary is also very hurtful to cis people and binary trans people who aren’t ”masculine” or ”feminine” enough, or who don’t want to have the ”gender expression” that is expected from them (like boys wearing dresses).
I want to clarify that, yes; I am non binary, but I am not intersex, so I can not speak for those who are.
I hope this answers your question, and don’t hesitate to ask more about the subject!
Feel free to add more information in case I’ve forgotten something or if something’s incorrect
We’re working with perspective in school AND IT’S SO DIFFICULT AND I AM SO BAD AT IT IT’S EMBARRASSING. But at the same time, it’s nice to actually learn something new and useful. Doesn’t help that I have a cold and my brain is goo.
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I have a few ideas for informational comics, I hope that I’ll have time and motivation to make them soon.
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I finished Tounges of Serpents a while ago, and I still haven’t started on Crucible of Gold, too much to do.
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TL;DR Everything’s well!