|Infinite ways to identify!|
way. What if I told you gender identity is more complex then the binaries we have been fed? This is a topic that is becoming more prevalent in our society at large and a topic I analyze every single day of my life. Gender is so more than examining your anatomy and declaring, "looks like I'm a girl!". Gender identity is how an individual perceives themselves based on their intuition (feelings). On the other hand, sex assigned at birth or biological sex refers to objectively measurable organs, chromosomes, and hormones: female, male, or somewhere in between. Gender and sex are different but can influence each other. One person, much like myself, can be born as a female and also feel girly and feminine (cisgender). Another person could be born male and not feel purely feminine or purely masculine. This is called Genderqueer or gender fluid.
As our lovely Genderbread person shows, gender identity, expression (how one presents their gender to the world), sex, and sexual orientation are separate and unique. It is true that they could potentially influence one another as well. Gender identity is unique to every single one of us. It has the potential to sync with our other identities or not, giving as all infinite ways to perceive ourselves, either changing or staying fixed. Pluralistic by nature, all gender identities should be celebrated and recognized; University of Vermont is doing both by allowing all students to have control over their identity. There is much progress that has been made yet we have miles left to go.
All of these identities come on a spectrum that makes our binary-comfortable society shriek in confusion. The end result is discrimination, both legally and socially, and violence toward people who do not fit in to the cookie cutter ideals that society has placed on them. So far in 2015, there have been 6 (and counting) reported murders of trans* women and gender non-conforming people in the United States. During this time last year, there were none reported so early into the year. There is progress that still has to be made even in a comparatively progressive culture like our own; this is a critical pluralistic issue worth talking about and fighting for.
*Trans or Transgender refers to an individual who feels that they do not identify with their sex assigned at birth or gender thus identifying as the opposite gender.