NauenThen

Thinking about gender

July 16, 2015

Facebook here in the States offers more than 50 ways for users to identify their gender and in England 70. (The UK also accepts the gender-neutral title of Mx.)

Binary is finished, apparently. With gender a "social construct," we can be gender neutral, gender fluid, agender, androgyne, trans female, trans male, trans person, cisgender, two-spirit, intersex man, intersex woman, asexual, genderqueer, pangender, transfeminine, demisexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible, pansexual, sapiosexual—and dozens more.

What does it mean to identify as other than male or female or a few of the other longstanding choices? Will it be a passing fad to get that specific? Will some of these terms fall out of favor? "You're pangender? How last year!" Is this unique to the "trophy for everyone I'm so special" generation? I've heard people suggest that once these kids have to get jobs, they'll lose interest in what does sound pretty collegiate. But is it only young people who are sorting this out? Caitlyn Jenner is 65, after all. It's a little hard to get used to, I must say, although I don't know anyone who uses anything other than male, female, or trans. I guess I don't understand why it's important to find the single right word to ID your own personal (social?) construct. Those of us who grew up in the '60s & '70s managed to sleep with whoever (everyone) using only the crude instrument of desire. Is sex at all the point?

Will I be mocked or shamed for asking these questions?