About gender, gender roles and sexuality. I’m far from an expert, though I do try to keep up. I’m part of the LGBTQ community.
I read a blog post the other day comparing being a tomboy to being gender fluid. The writer went so far as to encourage people to have a “gender fluid attitude” and later stated “we’re all a bit queer”. Everything about this post was incorrect and offensive. So, rather than rant and criticise more, I’m going to share some basic knowledge about gender, gender role and sexuality.
Gender, Gender Identiy and Biological Sex
Here’s an article I found from Planned Parenthood which outlines the differences between them clearly and concisely. I couldn’t begin to put these concepts together in such a nicely written way.
I see gender roles as nothing more than societal norms of behavior. As a society, we tend to criticise one another for going too far outside of the stereotypical gender roles. Let’s take a look at some photos and talk about them.
Clothing, style, hobbies, interests and a whole wide variety of other things have NOTHING to do with gender identity. Gender identity is the gender (or lack there of) YOU identify with.
Sexuality is who or what sexually stimulates you. I’ve also heard the definition include who you experience romantic love with.
I’m not even going to try to list the various labels for sexuality. What I am going to say is that often when a person engages in behaviors and modes of dressing that are outside of the societal norm they are attributed to their sexuality.
How many times have you heard someone ask which one is the “man” or “woman” in a homosexual relationship? My mother asked me this more than once when I was actively dating women and bringing my group of LGBTQ friends around. She got more education than she wanted!
I haven’t put a dent in the subject. FFS, there are entire college degrees on all levels dedicated to Gender Studies. My knowledge is elementary compared to what’s out there.
I highly encourage people to be open to learning more. Knowledge brings us towards understanding, compassion and kindness.
Before you jump into writing about a subject as loaded as this one, PLEASE take the time to educate yourself. Talk at length with many people in various parts of the LGBTQ community. Ask questions. Read, read, read! Getting information from those living it is very different than what you’ll find in a Google search or a dictionary definition.
I turned back to my community before writing this for a refresher from those closer to the gender bends than myself. I talked to my gay friends and TG friends. I read a lot before I took to writing. I also isolated the confusion the writer had between gender identity and gender roles.
Half baked ideas and understanding are sometimes worse than being completely ignorant.
Thanks for reading. Comments appreciated.