Daily Archives: April 17, 2012
Do I get triple points for coming up with not just one or two O words, but for hitting a homer with three??? I think so. Even if I’m just giving myself the points and they don’t actually accumulate towards a win of any kind. 😉
So, the idea that our sex organs define who we are. It’s a pretty heavy one, and rather long standing. And the longer folks have believed something, the more ingrained it is, the harder it can be to shake it. However, the fact of the matter is that our parts have little to no bearing on our actual sex or our gender.
A person’s “assigned sex” is based on their genitals. It’s when the midwife, doctor, or doula sees a baby’s bits and announces “it’s a boy/girl!” Actual sex, I’m afraid, is a LOT more complicated.
If you want to get right down to it, a person’s actual sex is determined by their chromosomes. And here, many folks would happily jump in with “Okay, so that means it’s XX or XY!” Yeah, but not really. Sure, those are the two combinations we’ve all been taught in grade school… but those are FAR from the only options. It’s not as uncommon as you’d think for individuals to have X0, XXX, XXXX, XXXXX, XXY, XXXY, XYY, or even XY/XXY chromosomes. And unless you’ve been tested for chromosomal abnormalities, you may be XXX or XYY and not even know it.
Still with me? Assigned sex is based on your organs, actual sex is based on your chromosomes, and Gender? Gender is the realm of the philosopher (back in the day, I was either practicing art or studying philosophy). Gender is about how you feel, it’s about who you are. It’s how you define yourself. And with gender there are as many options as there are individuals. No one can define your gender except for you, and it may or may not match up with your assigned or actual sex. Heck, it may or may not be the same from day to day. As we grow, learn, evolve, and change, our gender may do so right along with us, and that’s totally okay.
So our organs really can’t define us, not in any real way. And the idea of a sexual or gender binary? It just doesn’t work. There are more than two sexes (as our chromosomes clearly indicate) and there are more than two genders. Our parts may convince some that a binary view works, but all you have to do is check out the myriad within even the physical bits to know humans are more complex than that. And I, for one, am grateful for all of our beautiful and amazing complexities.