The Sharin’ Hour decided to take on a serious topic last week. With the rise in transgender icons like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, it seemed like a good time to talk about gender. Show host Sheran James wondered if the increase in support for variant sexualities would lead to an increase in acception for variant genders. As much as we hope, how possible is it? Or, more accurately, how long will it take for this change to be enacted? How deeply is our gender bias ingrained in our culture?
Gender is far more complicated than we give it credit for. Gender differs over time and throughout cultures, yet we tend to think of it as finite. What we often incorrectly refer to as ‘gender’ is more truthfully: gender, gender expression, and biological sex.
- It includes our internal and external sex organs, chromosomes, and hormones.
- Signifies male, female, or intersex.
- Comes from society and ourselves.
- Dozens and dozens of different gender identities (Ex: boy, girl, demiboy, demigirl, agender, genderfluid, etc)
- How we present our gender
- body language
- makeup/facial hair
Biological sex, gender, and gender expression are expected to coincide, but they are all incredibly separate.
Gender identity is how our society classifies personality, feminine and masculine. However, femininity and masculinity are two scales that can move independently of one another. But there are far more personalities than simply those two and thus far more gender identities than two.
This two gender system, the gender binary, is not only inconvenient but dangerous. Those with nonbinary gender identities have been treated as if they were mentally ill. Eighty-four percent of trans people considered suicide, half of those people attempted suicide.
Caitlyn Jenner has become a transgender icon. And as she made this transition, everyone seemed to have an opinion or agenda. Some pointed out that Caitlyn’s newfound perspective of womanhood is based solely on hair, makeup, and looking sexy, interests that have been treated as a stereotype. Others note that the idea of ‘gendered brains’ was considered sexist until Caitlyn said she always felt she had a woman’s mind.
And though these are all valid conversation points, we must remember that Caitlyn is not a political party or a symbol, she is a woman. She is a person. At the end of the day we must all remember, gender expression and biological sex and gender identity aside, we are all people.
You can listen to the full hour, featuring input from Madeleine Albright, Elinor Burkett, Sam Killerman, Malic White, James Braly and Kermit the Frog, below:
Don’t forget to tune into The Sharin’ Hour, Sundays at 7pm on KX FM 104.7!