Today I wanted to talk about the gender binary dilemma. For those not familiar with this I am referring to the idea that gender is a binary thing; that you can either be male or female in gender. This is a societal and genetic concept.
We know that sex is binary you are ether born sexually male or female with few exceptions. There can be arguments made that at the chromosomal level there are many combinations other than XX or XY. Science has shown XXY, XYX and so on exist. However, when dealing with primary sex organs it's pretty binary.
Society also has a pretty binary view of gender. Barbies are for girls and G.I Joe's are for boys. Girls play house and boys play Army. Fast forward. Girls are cheerleaders and boys are football players. And we all know what we say about boys that are cheerleaders. Women can't serve in the infantry and don't have a selective service obligation. We live in a binary world. On off, us and them, this or that. it's how our brains work
We tell our sons to man up and not to cry like a girl. We tell our daughters to act like a lady. We perpetuate the gender binary concept. It's no wonder that when transitioning both the trans community and the society that looks at us put the same boxes around us. If I want to be a woman than clearly I should want to bake, knit, and read Cosmo. I should want to wear dresses, and like pink bows. When recreating myself I might feel that I need to overdo it and fit into those stereotypes. A transgender man may feel obligated to go big or go home at the gym so he can be seen as a man.
But what if I just wanted a woman's body? What if I felt like I was supposed to be a woman but loved working on cars, loved the color blue, and wanted to play video games? Would I be less of a woman. What if that trans man wanted to transition and then have his own cooking show? I do like purple, and I love to crochet, but I also love camping and am a capable infantry leader.
Transgender people feel that their body does not match their gender identity. This does not mean that they have to create a new identity post transition. It also doesn't mean that they can't. It comes down to this; neither my sex, nor my gender identity must define my likes, dislikes, or tastes.
We must stop creating a binary standard for gender identity. This puts unnecessary pressure not only on transgender people but cisgender people as well. We should seek for an end to feminism not because feminists are wrong but because the goal should be a standard of equality where feminism is no longer necessary. For those of us in the transgender community it becomes even more important. In a binary world a transgender woman may fit in with neither their sex of origin or their chosen gender.
I once had a commander who stated that if you said you were thinking outside the box, you were acknowledging that there is a box and that meant you were inside it too. It is better to state that there is no box. When it comes to gendering we have to erase the box. Anytime we define ourselves as something we run the risk of having that identity shattered. Instead define yourself as you. There is no right way to be a boy and no wrong way to be a girl. Let's all erase the box and each just be ourselves for a while. There's a lot less pressure when there is no box.
"Nothing is too girly and nothing is too masculine. But I do love color, and maybe that's a little girly - especially pink." Stacy London