You are born. You are assigned a gender at birth, based on your anatomy. You grow up and there are times your gender identity might be in congruence with your sex and there are times when it might not be. But why are talking about sex and gender, suddenly? Well, because it’s long overdue.
Recently, when I discovered the term ‘Gender Fluid’, I had no clue what it was until I looked it up and a whole new world of information was at my disposal. Now of course, there are certain things we all know about sex and gender, but it’s definitely not enough. We live in a social world where we get to meet all kinds of people, and it’s important to know where they are coming from. So let’s get started, shall we?
Difference Between Sex, Gender Identity, And Sexual Orientation
First things first, we need to understand that we can’t use the terms – sex, gender and sexual orientation – interchangeably. Sex, gender identity and sexual orientation are three different things and it’s important to know the difference between them.
In simple words, sex is a label – male or female – that you’re assigned by a doctor at birth based on the genitals you’re born with and the chromosomes you have.
As defined by the Human Rights Campaign, “Gender identity is the innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.” Basically, it can be the same gender as what you were assigned at birth, or could be entirely different. There are genders, outside of just male and female, that people can identify with.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Sexual Orientation is an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to other people.” A person’s sexual orientation is defined by who they are sexually attracted to. You can be transgender, but also be straight, or gay, bisexual or asexual, or any of the other sexual identities that exist.
“Sexuality is whom you go to bed with, and gender identity is whom you go to bed as. That’s the simplest way I can describe it,” explained YouTuber Brendan Jordan, who identifies as gender fluid, in one his interviews to CBS News. While the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity is well defined, there’s a thin line that separates sex from gender. While sex depends on your biological anatomy, gender is a much more complex term. According to Planned Parenthood, Gender Identity is a social and legal status, and set of expectations from society, about behaviors, characteristics, and thoughts. Each culture has standards about the way that people should behave based on their gender. This is also generally male or female. But instead of being about body parts, it’s more about how you’re expected to act, because of your sex.
So, What Is Gender Fluidity, Then?
Gender fluidity is just another gender identity, which means a gender that varies from time to time. Planned Parenthood defines gender fluidity as, “The flexibility of gender expressions and identities that may change over time or even from day to day. A gender fluid person may feel male on some days, female on others, both male and female, or neither. A gender fluid person might also identify as genderqueer.”
In between, sex, gender and sexual orientation, gender fluidity fits in the gender zone. The world we live in is gender-binary dominant, and those who don’t identify as male or female, have a tough time fitting in a pre-conditioned society. Exploring one’s gender shouldn’t be an option. It should simply be the order of things.
News credit : Indiatimes