From an early age many of us have a very clear idea about gender roles and norms. These ideas can influence choices about a favorite color, a favorite toy, or even what clothing we enjoy wearing. These choices can be associated with gender norms around being male or female. Over time, many people conform to these norms and gender roles and identify with them.
Our ideas about gender roles and norms come from all sorts of sources - our families, the media, what we see in our world.
Studies have shown that parents use different speech patterns and tones with baby boys and baby girls.
Cultural beliefs re-enforce what is considered normal or acceptable behavior for boys/males and girls/females.
What is your main take away from this video?
Do you believe that boys and girls are treated differently by the adults around them?
Take a few minutes and look at this list. Which items or professions do you associate with boys and which items do you associate with girls?
Burping and Farting
A six pack
Think about the way you categorized items and professions in the list above and explore these questions:
Where do your ideas about what is associated with boys and what is associated with girls come from?
Is it true that there are things only associated with boys and things only associated with girls?
What does it mean to you if a boy likes doing something that you associate as being a girl thing or a girl likes doing something you associate as being a boy thing?
Now that we explored how we categorize items and professions, let's explore how we categorize people using pronouns
Have you ever met someone who uses the pronouns they, them, and their?
Why should these pronouns be used to describe someone rather then "it"?
How would you feel if someone referred to you as it or used the wrong pronouns to refer to you?
Before we continue, let's define a few terms:
mis·gen·der /misˈjendər/- verb: refer to (someone, especially a transgender person) using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, that does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify.
gender re-affirming: relating to a process by which a person receives social recognition and support for their gender identity and expression
butch /bo͝oCH/ -adj.: having an appearance or other qualities of a type traditionally seen as masculine.
femme: identifying with or presenting a feminine identity
dys·pho·ri·a /disˈfôrēə/ -noun: a general descriptive term which refers to an individual's discontent with the assigned gender
Each of us has an individual relationship with our gender identity. This relationship affects how we feel in and interact with the world and what we wear.
How do your clothing choices express your personal gender identity?
It made be hard for those of us who identify as cisgender, to identify with Hitch and their need to use clothing for armor on days when they lack self confidence about their gender.
cisgender /“siss-jendur”/ – adj. : a gender description for when someone’s sex assigned at birth and gender identity correspond in the expected way (e.g., someone who was assigned male at birth, and identifies as a man). A simple way to think about it is if a person is not transgender, they are cisgender. The word cisgender can also be shortened to “cis.”
If you identify as cisgender, it is easier to navigate through the world due to the alignment of your personal gender identity with the way the world perceives your gender identity.
Examples of this ease in navigating through the world, and the benefits it affords, may include:
You can use public restrooms without fear of verbal abuse, physical intimidation, or arrest.
Your validity as a man/woman/human is not based on how much surgery you’ve had or how well you “pass” as non-transgender.
You can walk through the world and generally blend in, not being constantly stared or gawked at, whispered about, pointed at, or laughed at because of your gender expression.
You can reasonably assume that your ability to acquire a job, rent an apartment, or secure a loan will not be denied on the basis of your gender identity/expression.
You can flirt, engage in courtship, or form a relationship and not fear that your biological status may be cause for rejection or attack, nor will it cause your partner to question their sexual orientation.
If you end up in the emergency room, you do not have to worry that your gender will keep you from receiving appropriate treatment or that all of your medical issues will be seen as a result of your gender.
Your identity was not formally (until 2013) considered a mental pathology (“gender identity disorder” in the DSM IV) by the psychological and medical establishments, and still pathologized by the public.
You do not have to defend your right to be a part of or the queer community, and gays and lesbians will not try to exclude you from “their” equal rights movement because of your gender identity (or any equality movement, including feminist rights).
You can easily find role models and mentors to emulate who share your identity.
Hollywood accurately depicts people of your gender in films and television, without tokenizing your identity as the focus of a dramatic story line or the punchline of a joke.
You can purchase clothes that match your gender identity without being refused service or mocked by staff.
No stranger checking your identification or driver’s license will ever insult or glare at you because your name or sex does not match the sex they believed you to be based on your gender expression.
You can reasonably assume that you will not be denied services at a hospital, bank, or other institution because the staff does not believe the gender marker on your ID card matches your gender identity.
Your gender is an option on a form.
You don’t have to fear interactions with police officers due to your gender identity.
You can go places with friends on a whim knowing there will be bathrooms there you can use.
You don’t have to convince your parents of your true gender and/or have to earn your parents’ and siblings’ love and respect all over again because of your gender identity.
You don’t have to remind your extended family over and over to use proper gender pronouns.
You don’t have to deal with old photographs that do not reflect who you truly are.
Have you ever thought of these privileges before?
Ancient Rabbis noted that there were 5 genders
Androgynos (having both male and female characteristics)
Tumtum (indeterminate or obscured gender characteristics)
Aylonit (female at birth, but develops male characteristics in puberty and is infertile)
Saris Hama (male at birth, but develops female characteristics in puberty)
Golem (something unfinished or not clearly shaped, not to be mistaken for its later interpretation as a magic creature)
“Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.” -Dr. Brene’ Brown