“I wasn’t ladylike, nor was I manly. I was something else altogether. There were many different ways to be beautiful.”
— Micheal Cunningham, A Home At The End Of The World
Gender cannot be resolved to a variable. There is a range of gender identities between and outside of the categories of male and female. To understand them, we must know about them.
Although the gender spectrum breaks down society’s outdated understanding of gender and it’s categories, today we’ll look into the three which are more widely known.
Starting with the stereotypes: Cis-gender
Cis-gender refers to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender correspond with their sex assigned at birth. As a result, they identify themselves as their birth sex. For example, someone who identifies as a man and was assigned male at birth is a cisgender man.
Transgender refers to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender do not correspond with their sex. The term transgender is the opposite of the word cisgender. Transgender people exhibit the full range of possible sexual orientations and interests, including the potential for a lack of sexual attraction.
When asked, trans people explained their feelings as such that their birth sex didn’t match their feelings of what they actually were.
Moving on to non-binary.
Non-binary or gender-queer is a spectrum of gender identity that is not exclusively masculine or feminine — identities that are outside the gender binary i.e. man and woman. Non-binary identities can fall under the transgender umbrella, since many non-binary people identify with a gender that is different from their assigned sex.
There are many contrasts among them. The main contrast lies between cis-gender and transgender/non-binary. Cis-gender is considered to be the “main” and “normal” gender for people.
Our world has somehow created a division between us even though we are all human. A common misconception is that a transgender or a non-binary person is by default gay or asexual.
However, being transgender focuses on gender identity and not sexual orientation. A transgender person may identify with any sexual orientation.
Another important misconception is that individuals who crossdress are transgender. However, many crossdressers are comfortable with their assigned sex. Even though individuals who participate in crossdressing are officially under the transgender umbrella, most do not identify as transgender.
The status of transgenderism as a mental disorder is widely disputed. Many transgender people experience gender dysphoria, which is a disconnect between one’s assigned sex at birth and the gender which they identify with. Trans people are often harassed, and face discrimination in every field. In many countries of the world, trans people are not given opportunities for education, jobs, and many other things that cis-gender people don’t have to struggle for.
As for non-binary people, they often struggle in school for their choice of using washrooms and pronouns of their choice. But many other students often bully them.
Cis-gender people, on the other hand, are called “normal”. They never have to face these struggles. No one questions them. This sort of discrimination and harassment should not be tolerated.
We do not have the right to judge people based on their gender identities. At the end of the day, we’re all our own individuals, and we’re all human beings.
And as humans, we are dynamic and we are allowed to be whoever we want. We share the same earth and the same air, and all of us deserve to be a part of it all equally. We are all the beauty this world can carry.
This post was created in collaboration with TransEnd and ProjectDebi.