The gender spectrum

Living in the United States, we have a gender binary culture. Meaning that the idea of only two genders (male and female) are constantly reinforced in our society. Non binary can mean a variety of different things: it can be used for someone who is a bit of both genders, someone who is strongly on one gender side but can identify as the opposite, or someone who has no gender.

In an interview with BBC news, Richard O’Brein, writer of The Rocky Horror Show, has spoken about his gender, and being “70% male, 30% female.” O’Brien still goes by the he/him pronouns, but has started taking the female hormone oestrogen.

Cambridge University professor, Melissa Hines, says “There is not a gender binary, that there’s a range of gender, and there are many dimensions of gender and an individual person can be in a different position in terms of how masculine or feminine they are on each of these dimensions.”

Laverne Cox, a transgender woman on the popular show Orange is the New Black, is a transgender activist and says, “We still live in a binary world in which the idea is imposed on us that there are only two genders; we need to change that perception.” Non binary people can be transgender, but male to female and female to male transgender people are not non binary. This distinction is important because transgender is an umbrella term used for people switching their genders, while people like Laverne Cox is strictly transgender because she is within the male/female binary.

Seph, a mathematician interviewed for Transmedia Watch, says, “I often feel like people like me are invisible.” Non binary people deserve to be respected and acknowledged. If you’re not sure what a person’s gender is, it’s recommended you use the pronoun they/them until you’re sure. Their gender should not be erased, and bullying and being hateful isn’t going to change their gender.

http://transmediawatch.org/Documents/non_binary.pdf

https://www.genderspectrum.org/quick-links/understanding-gender/

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21788238

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/laverne-cox-we-live-in-a-binary-world-it-can-change-9461564.html

http://www.hercampus.com/entertainment/laverne-cox-first-transgender-individual-get-wax-figure

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