Monday, February 3, 2014

We're All Gender Confused


Come on, admit it. It’s happened to you at some point in your life. You’re in a crowd, nonchalantly minding your own business, when someone catches your eye. Short hair, neutral clothing, slender figure, standing at just the right angle where you can’t tell if it’s a feminine looking boy or a slightly masculine looking girl.  And it drives you nuts. You try not to stare as you puzzle over whether this human being is male or female and hope that they don’t walk over so you don’t have to talk to them and embarrassingly reveal your confusion. Well, if you’ve never experienced this, let me tell you, it’s maddening. But why? Our culture these days strives to be genderless, where whether you are a man or a woman is irrelevant. If not genderless, then at least broadening gender to the point of irrelevance. Why should we care if someone is male or female when it doesn’t matter? OR, what if it does matter?

It used to be that when someone said “gender”, everyone knew they were referring to male and/or female (or, in the case of language, masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns, but that’s beside the point).  Now, however, “gender” refers to whether one is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or straight. So now what do we say when we’re referring to something that is male or female? “Sex”? Yeah, that word has been hijacked also, and if I so much as utter the word sex, most think I’m referring to sexual intercourse.  As our language evolves, I’m running out of options to make it clear that I’m talking about what is male and/or female, and not anything else. I guess this evolution of words parallels the transformation we’re trying to make to a genderless society.

But wait, if we really want to be genderless, then why are we so concerned about having all these terms to designate a person’s sexual preferences? Why all the labels? I thought we were trying to get rid of labels, but to me it seems that we’re just adding more while simultaneously taking away all the useful labels. Look, people. I’m a nurse. I spent four years studying hard sciences, so I can tell you that “sex” or “gender” or whatever you want to call it is binary. There are only two types, and either sex is indicated by the presence or absence of a specific gene typically located on the Y chromosome: the SRY gene (SRY 2014). If a person carries the SRY gene, he develops as a male. If a person does not carry this gene, she develops as a female. Regardless of who a person finds attractive or how they change their bodies, either the SRY gene is present, or it isn’t. This is scientific fact. There are only two genders: male and female.

So what’s my point? In this blog, I will be commenting on authentic sexuality. When I use the term sexuality, I mean who you are as a man or as a woman. If you want to put it another way, I’m going to comment on authentic humanity, what it means to be human. Before I commence, I needed to get a few things clear. Mainly, the definitions of man, woman and sexuality. In case you didn’t catch it earlier, here they are spelled out in black and white (or black and pink, since the background is technically pink): a man is a male human being; a woman is a female human being; sexuality is who you are as a man or a woman. I don’t flatter myself that I have all of this sexuality stuff figured out yet. I welcome questions, comments, friendly criticism, and opposing viewpoints. Let’s dialogue, shall we?

SRY. (2014, January 27). Genetics home reference. Retrieved February 3, 2014, from

No comments:

Post a Comment