Data collected from a recent government backed survey held in schools where 13 year old girls were involved, who were asked to choose their gender from 25 different types. You will be amazingly surprised to know that today there are numerous gender types that have been constituted – tri-gender, demi-boy and non-binary. Fascinating isn’t it?
The girls in fact due to their independence from societal obligation made their choices freely. This was the exact interest in which this survey was carried out where children expressed their genders differently. A spokesperson of an LGBT association mentions that expressing oneself at a young age helps one come out and receive support from their conductors, staff and teachers in order to face gender issues positively.
Owing to a research made in the UK by sociologist Dr. Shelley Budgeon with the help of a correspondent from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, here are a few pertinent questions in respect to gender issues that you need to ask today in order to receive the answers you ought to know:
HOW MANY GENDERS DO YOU KNOW OF?
How many would you say you know of?
The first thing that comes up in our minds is male, female and third gender, right?
But the complexity of the situation is that gender can’t be segregated into male, female and third gender. There is in fact no gender specificity. It is abstract. You choose the traits you identify with and then give it your own name. It is difficult to segregate mutually exclusive gender types, because none of the gender types are solely exclusive but are an intermingling of one with the other posing subtle differences.
So the problem lies in the question itself – “how many genders are there?” The question should rather be “what do you as an individual find affinity towards?” or “what would you as an individual like to be termed as?”
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF GENDER ALL OVER THE WORLD?
Gender is assigned to an individual right at birth. A baby born is either termed as a boy or a girl on the basis of their primary sexual organs.
However won’t we all agree that it is an extremely biased method? In the sense that:
First, sexual organs can definitely not prove sufficient in determining the gender traits of a person. A person with the primary sexual organs of those commonly associated with a man’s might seem to show other attributes that are similar to a woman’s. For instance the tonal quality of the voice, breasts and so on.
Second, why does one have to be determined as either a boy or a girl? One Dr. Budgeon in the UK expresses his concern regarding the fact that children are assigned their gender in terms of their biological attributes as either a boy or a girl, which portrays that men and women are completely unlike each other, which is why they are to consciously maintain that kind of a difference in their character to appear normal in the face of society.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THIS ‘BINARY APPROACH’ TO GENDER?
This binary approach towards gender is extremely unjust and illogical. We have opted for a more streamlined approach to make it easier for us to relate. However what is important to realise is we are all very different from one another whether male or female, every individual feels, thinks and expresses differently. Which is why trying to normalise certain kind of behaviour in the name of gender is similar to segregating human individuals into genres of literature or music. However not more than two genres –
Let’s say Jazz and Pop, but what about all the other kinds of music that don’t find affinity to either Pop or Jazz, and what about those that relate to both? Hence just as there is an infinite array of genres through which various kinds of music expresses itself exclusively, human individuals too deserve that kind of a range to express themselves without having to limit and fake their expressions just to fit into the two genres of gender – male and female.
HOW IS GENDER CREATED?
Gender is created when our body is associated with certain cultural meanings of society. Gender is created by the beliefs, identifications, social mores, social interactions and institutions it organizes.
Over a period of time, these meanings have been organized on the basis of the relationship between the two biological bodies of male and female thus completely setting one apart from the other to help in specifying and stipulating certain social conditions.
CAN GENDER CHARACTERISTICS ALTER?
Gender is a cultural concept and has cultural affinity. It is because gender is a cultural concept, it can change in its characteristics from time to time as the culture of a particular society which begins to transform as a result of the development of the society.
A practical example of this is the role of females in our society which has kept changing over time. If we talk about the Hindu tradition then women in the Vedic era were looked up to and even worshipped, when a number of women sages had existed unlike the stereotypical male sages.
However over time the role of females started to change. They started to become more submissive and dependent on the gender specific biologically stronger males. But in the present day, they have acquired the role of domination and equal presence once again to make their position felt in the society among the biologically stronger gender, so that biological strength doesn’t stand for other kinds of superiority. But all of these arguments and debates continue to flourish with regard to how females should make their positions felt and how males should make their positions felt.
There is no perfectly concrete behaviour associated with either.
HURTFUL TERMS YOU SHOULD ABSTAIN FROM USING REGARDING TRANSGENDER PEOPLE?
Terms like “pre-operative”, “post-operative”, “sex change”, “sex reassignment” and “she was born a girl” can be extremely hurtful to those who struggle to come to terms with their so-called ‘unnatural’ gender type as posited by society.
This can be a very difficult phase for them, so it is important to understand the sensitivity of the situation and behave accordingly.
Unlike what most of us believe, sex reassignment is not all about a physical transformation. That is not that only thing that is there to it. There is also a psychological transformation that takes place along with the physical transformation and often the two processes may not be congruent, which can be very frustrating and even lead to depression. Also the inability to change one’s physical attributes while psychologically identifying with another gender different to the one they were assigned at birth can be a struggle.
Let us be more empathetic towards those who don’t identify with the ‘normal’ and show more support in order to help them feel accepted instead of isolated, because we realise that it is indeed a difficult struggle that some of us go through in trying to accept ourselves as separate from what the society associates as normal. We are rather individuals carrying the sole right and freedom to express ourselves in ways we are comfortable in.
Please share your views on this topic, in the comments section below.