Genderbread People (are all equal)

Genderbread-2.1From time to time on this website I will be discussing topics of self identity, this is not limited to just whether you consider yourself an introvert or extravert, creative or analytical, people are very complex. To pretend otherwise is not wise.

I’m also big on the idea of busting myths and stigmas, and helping educate people to the lesser known or more poorly understood concepts of life and humanity (which includes self-identity).

I have several queer and even some transgender friends. They are all awesome people. I learn a lot from them. Recently, one of them posted a buzzfeed article which happened to contain a graphic which I later found out was called “The Genderbread Person“. It visually clarifies how gender perception relates to the self, in a very simple and easy way for the uninitiated. There are a lot of misconceptions and confusions around this that lead to problems. I found out after discovering this graphic that it had been revised and updated, to “Genderbread Person Version 2.0” (pictured above), and this had been done to correct a minor “flaw” in the original.

The author pointed out that the original presented as essentially a “zero sum” spectrum, meaning for example to be more “feminine” meant being less “masculine”, whereas the revised version reflects that this is not the case – that you can be say, 50% masculine and 75% feminine, at the same time. Kind of like you can be (for example) 90% happy on a given day, but also 30% frustrated, maybe 5% sad. It doesn’t have to add up to 100%. You are more than one thing at any given time.

I’m no “gender” expert, I’ve never taken any kind of class on gender, I just talk to queer and trans identified people in person and online to get a sense of the issues at play from their side of it (since society is largely structured and geared towards the “straight” side of things). Personally, I identify primarily as a straight “cis-male” (that is to say that I identify with the gender that I was born as and don’t feel that I am in the wrong body). That said, I have personally always preferred and identified more with so called “feminine” traits in both men and women, than I have in more masculine traits (ie I don’t tend to hang around with “macho men”).

I used to be homophobic when I was younger (probably in part due to a religious upbringing which I have since renounced), but I am glad to say as a teenager I began to think more critically and ultimately determined that there is nothing wrong with being gay. As an adult, I strive to be as accepting and supportive of other people’s identities and life choices as I can (provided they are not hurting anyone else). In fact, I made a conscious effort to be more accepting of even my own gender to be able to appreciate physical attractiveness not just in the opposite sex (which I am more naturally attracted to). I have no desire to be involved in sexual relationships with men (unlike with women), but that doesn’t mean I can’t say “If I was into guys, I’d say he is a good looking one!”.

It’s a matter of appreciating the species as a whole, not just part of it. This understandably weirds many people out, because we are not brought up to think that way. We are gender segregated from birth (boys in blue, girls play with dolls, etc). I have come to be of the opinion that we should stop that. There are examples of instances where a person was born as one gender but raised as the other, and the results later in their life are quite sad and tragic.

In short what I want to say with this post is, do yourself a favour and do some reading, even if just a little bit. More awareness leads to more acceptance and then we can all share this chunk of rock together a bit more harmoniously, regardless of our differences (which really don’t matter in the grand scheme!)

I have learned A LOT from my various queer and transgender friends, and I am grateful for that. I’m not going to lie, I am still mulling over and working through my thoughts and feelings on some of the aspects of queerness and trans-sexuality and I haven’t wrapped my head around all of it, or even gotten comfortable with all of it yet, but that’s my problem, not theirs. And that’s important. You can only control your own actions and reactions, so think carefully about what you do, how you treat people and why. Respect begets respect, and I’d rather have friends than adversaries.

As such, you can expect that if you choose to behave in a hateful, ignorant, bigoted manner in the comments of this site, you might get yourself blocked or banned. There’s no excuse to “not know better”. Give respect, get respect.

Edit (Oct 23, 2013) – Found a new page and a bunch of links that relate/are helpful:

Care to share your thoughts?