So, in my first three columns on gender, what am I trying to say about gender? What's the overriding perspective and the general view to know where each of us are in the continuum of human expression and behavior? First, researchers have found no behavoir associated with gender to be unique to one sex. Although, there are some more common for one sex, neither have a sole right to it. Second, behavior doesn't translate across cultures and societies.
The proportion of an individual's male and female gender identities presents three different general types of people, those who have a physical and gender identity match, those with a confusion between the two, and those who have a mismatch. The last group doesn't necessarily mean the individual is a transperson, meaning they want to change their phyisical identity, they could be very comfortable feeling one gender in the body of the other.
This notion of cofusion and incongruity is part of the transperson's experience. Those with a confusion may spend a lifetime struggle to find themselves in a world that favors the binary defintion of sex and gender, the "or" situation, you're male/man or female/woman. They may find comfort in being in the space in between genders, simply expressing the mixture of both genders with the physical identity or in alternative expressions, such as androgyne or genderqueer.
Those who have the more dominant incongruity between the physical and gender identities is what is generally referred to as transgender or transpeople. They may not choose to identify as trans, that's their right, they may be comfortable as they are. Those that aren't comfortable identify as transsexual, meaning they want to change and transistion to change their physical identity to fit into the view of their gender identity.
The standards and procedures for any transistion has been established by the HBIGDA which oversees the medical standards for transsexuals. In addition every state in the US and the federal government has defined similar legal standards for legally changing your sex/gender identification for your documents. This is well presented on many Websites, such as TS Roadmap.
What does it all mean? For one there is a continuum of sex and gender beings and identities, no one is the same and everyone is a complex mixture of male and female sex and gender identities. It's the beauty nature and evolution provided the human species. And for another, the task in our life is to find where we are and where we find comfort in ourselves to live on the continuum. And that sometimes is the problem.
We as a society should recognize this and not only allow the continuum of human being and expression to exist, but exist in safety and comfort in the society. We wouldn't need anti-distrimination laws if this was the case, now would we? So if you see someone who makes you wonder, stop and think for a moment, and ask yourself, "What if you were them?", or better still, say "Hi."
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