Having Better Conversations About Gender

Chloe Pedley Jul 20, 2018 0 comments 0

I'm Chloe, I identify as a bi-woman (my sexuality and  gender), and my preferred pronouns are "She/her"

I like to make sure I don't misgender the folks I hang around with - so I do try to use preferred pronouns, and be sensitive about making assumptions when I meet people.

Why? What is all of this about you might ask? Well, firstly, it's because I'm not a jerk, and I think we should all be included respectfully in society. Secondly it's because I genuinely care about the people I meet, and I want them to feel included, respected, and like actual humans.

Not that hard really.

What is  gender?

Contrary to the popular belief that gender is whether or not you're male or female (Nup, that's sex, folks, more on that in a second!) Gender is the feeling of whether you're a guy, or a girl, a man or a woman, or somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum.

Gender is diverse, and much more fluid than the black and white definition of "Man" and "Woman".

Yay for gender diversity!

I'd also like to  bring to the table the idea that gender doesn't necessarily have to do with sexuality. That's a whole other discussion! And we're gonna have that discussion. We're gonna have these discussions until people understand, accept, and include all of their fellow folk!

What is "Sex"

No, not that kind of sex, but biology is fun too, mmkay?!

Sex relates to our anatomy. While there deviations of sex that extend beyond male and female anatomy, "male" and "female" are most commonly used terms.

The classification of a person as male or female at birth. Infants are assigned a sex, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy.

What if I don't identify with my assigned sex or gender?

No problems. You're perfectly normal, acceptable, and magical however you identify, and your'e certainly not alone.

Some folks don't feel like they connect or associate with their assigned gender or sex. Some identify with the opposite sex. Sometimes it's fluid, and it changes, and sometimes folks don't identify with any particular sex or gender.

I say this with a degree of caution, because I simply cannot speak for each individual experience of gender.

Common Gender Definitions

Agender or Gender-Neutral: A term for folks whose gender identity and expression does not align with man, woman, boy or girl or any other gender.

Androgynous/Andro: Identifying and/or presenting as neither obviously masculine nor feminine.

Bi-gender: Someone whose gender identity comprises of both man and woman. Some folk identify with one identity more than the other, but feel that both are present.

Binary: Archaic way of understanding gender as being only man or woman.

Cisgender: A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth. E.g. "Cis-Male" or "Cis-Woman"

A number of derivatives of the terms cisgender and cissexual include cis male for "male assigned male at birth", cis female for "female assigned female at birth", as well as: cis man and cis woman, and cissexism and cissexual assumption.

Gender dysphoria: Clinically defined as the condition of feeling one's emotional and psychological identity as man or woman to be opposite to  or different to one's biological sex.

Gender expression: How someone chooses to present their gender via their external appearance.

Gender fluid: A person who does not identify with a single fixed gender, and expresses a fluid or unfixed gender identity.

Gender identity: How individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. Gender identity can be the same or different from one’s sex assigned at birth.

Gender non-conforming: A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.

Gender questioning: A person who may be processing, questioning, or exploring how they want to express their gender identity.

Genderqueer: A term for people who reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and often, though not always, sexual orientation. People who identify as genderqueer may see themselves as being both male and female, neither male nor female or as falling completely outside these categories.

Misgender:  Don't do this! Referring to or addressing someone using words and pronouns that do not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify. We can do better than this, and if you don't know how someone likes to be addressed, it's nice to ask what their preferred pronouns are.

Non-binary: Any gender that falls outside of the binary system of male/female or man/woman.

Queer: A broad term to describe non-binary gender, and genderqueer has been used as an adjective to refer to any people who transgress distinctions of gender, regardless of their self-defined gender identity, or who "queer" gender.

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural and social expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transitioning: The social, legal, and/or medical process folks may go through to live outwardly as the gender with which they identify. Transitioning can include some or all of the following: telling loved ones and co-workers, using a new name and pronouns (he/she, him/her/ etc), dressing differently, changing their name and/or sex on legal documents, hormone therapy, and possibly gender reassignment and or cosmetic surgeries.

 

Got more to add? Comments, questions, criticisms? Call me out. I'm learning too, and I want to improve!

Chloe Pedley
Founder at Polkadotsi
Chloe is the founder of Polkadotsi, mother of four little boys, and wife and lover to a magnificent husband.
She's interested in all things sex and sexuality, and seeks to make a positive difference in the world by education.

Chloe is the founder of Polkadotsi, mother of four little boys, and wife and lover to a magnificent husband. She's interested in all things sex and sexuality, and seeks to make a positive difference in the world by education.