What is gender? Is it really unique and separate from sex? Can we identify what characteristics are gender specific, exclusively male or female, or both? There are a lot of questions we ask about gender, and many have explained it as, "Sex is what's between your legs, gender is what's between your ears." Unfortunately this isn't exactly what we want to do, separate sex from gender. Being a boy, or a girl, it is wrong.

Why is it wrong? First of all, as I explain in another column sex and gender as just two filters we see ourselves and the world. But first the graph above. I got this idea from Dr. Carl Bushong and his graph of male-female gender continuum. I varied for identifying both genders each of us have and our position on the general male-female continuum.

To begin with, each of us has both male and female gender characteristics, it's the majority of each which determine where we are on the continuum. As noted each sex has a majority of some characteristics common to that sex expressed as gender. There are no pure male or pure female individuals, as they have found individuals without any hormones of the other sex to be very rare (girls without any testosterone or boys without estrogen - estimated 1 in several hundred million).

The majority of each sex is centered on their side of the continuum and the majority are within a proportion of the whole of that sex. The middle of the graph shows where people have generally equal proportions (eg. 60/40 male/female to 40/60 male/female). And each sex has individuals which have greater gender characteristics of the opposite sex/gender. These are transgender individuals.

Additionally each of us isn't a specific dot on the continuum, but we are our own small continuum on the larger continuum, the little graph, see the (1) footnote number. Our individual continuums varies through time and our life, and expand/contract and move over time and our life. We are sex and gender dynamic throughout our life. It makes us part of the whole human expression.

What does all this really mean besides an academic exercise? Not much except it's my explanation of why each of us are male and female, it's what makes us part of the human expression and condition. I've continued this discussion in the next column.

[Top] [Columns] [Home]

Web Updates
Image Copyrights
Browser Optimization
WSR V2.8, January 2013