I’m back. This time I didn’t drink, but I did eat a whole lot of angry for breakfast.
I’ve been sitting on this post for while now, but have finally summoned the courage to hit PUBLISH! My article barely touches the surface of this discussion; it’s super simplified and I am NOT qualified to have written it, but I needed to get it out of my system.
Part 2: Relevant.
A couple of weeks ago I left a link to the beautiful G-Spot (HIYA) on Facebook, and invited any self-defining women to get in touch if they would like to use it as a platform/space for their words. Someone on my friends list asked me what I meant by ‘self-defining’. I said that it’s fairly self explanatory – if you define yourself as a woman then you are more than welcome to contribute. The reply I got, well, it pissed me off.
“Ahh the add extra irrelevant words to things.” (They were being lazy with their English, let me translate: “Ahh, you’ve added in some irrelevant words to try and sound intelligent.”)
And this is right about where I lost my shit. No. Just no. It is anything BUT irrelevant. Believing that this kind of discussion is irrelevant is ignorant and arrogant to say the least. Those two words could not be more relevant.
Gender is a discussion that has interested me for quite some time. I remember discussing it in A-level psychology and being fascinated; by the time we reached the end of the topic I was bombarding my poor teacher incessantly with questions and asking for further reading and research. Why? Because no one had ever bothered discussing it with me before. In PSHE (where I feel it really should be included in the syllabus) there was no discussion of gender. So, while I had always been accepting of all genders, I had been ignorant to issues surrounding such conversation, and I was angry that I had been ignorant about something so inherently important for so long.
Let’s get back to basics. First of all, gender and sex are different. As simply put as possible, sex is a ‘biological’ determination; gender, however, is a determination of the persons actual identity as they see themselves. You, and you alone, determine your gender.
Further to that, gender is not binary. It is not girl or boy; black or white; cake or death. Gender is a spectrum – you might define as androgynous, man, woman, gender fluid, gender queer, trans gender etc… But, more importantly, you need not define yourself as any name on that list. If none of them fit, then why label yourself as something that does not truly suit you?
Coming round full circle, read those words again: ‘self-defining’. Those two words go beyond the social norms of cisgender people, they deliberately encompass and extend beyond the gender binary which society has constructed. Further to that, it is a sign of inclusion by distinction as opposed to exclusion because you consider those two words to be ‘irrelevant’. Those words open the doors to anyone who identifies with a particular gender, who labels themselves; because how you identify yourself counts for more than how anyone else identifies you. You are the only one who has the right to recognize your gender and own it.
And yes, a large majority of the population are cis, but does that mean we should exclude those who aren’t? No. Not for one second. Take a moment when you meet someone to ask them about their preferred pronouns – yes some people will look at you like you’re an alien, but others will truly appreciate your consideration.
Use terms such as ‘self-defining’, it may seem irrelevant to some, but to others its meaning is paramount.