Last week, Facebook announced that it would be adding 48 new gender options to customize your personal FB page. But what exactly does that mean? For those of us who have gone through life only knowing “Male” and “Female”, randomly finding out that there are other gender options can be a bit overwhelming and cause many questions to arise, and that is perfectly okay—they did for me too! During the training for my internship, questions like “What are your preferred pronouns?” were asked and words like “cisgendered” were used, and I can only imagine what my facial expressions looked like…
My first thought was “Shit, what’s a pronoun!?” I know I should’ve slept less in English class, but all I had to do was listen to others respond and ask questions. Some people prefer to be addressed as “She, Her, Hers, He, Him, His” etc., and some people don’t care, Even though they may identify as “female” or “male”, they aren’t threatened by a slip of the pronoun.
Growing up loving dolls, dresses, and pink, I held tight to my pronouns. I’d be devastated if someone thought I was a “he.” But with the hairiest of Portuguese arms, it’s unavoidable from time to time.
So I’m going to start with the basics:
What is sex?
What is gender?
What is gender identity?
Many people who are born with penises or vulvas don’t identify with society’s expectations of gender. Having a psychological background and method of thinking, my first thoughts were, “What is going on in their heads?” and “What makes them feel or identify differently?” and those questions were so dominant because—in plain words—I can’t relate. I was born with a vulva, I consider myself Cisgendered, I identify with being female and I fit into society’s expectations as such. The bottom line is that those things give me “privilege” and instead of questioning the psychological state of others, due to my inability to relate. I have chosen to use my privilege to help those who get lost in the minority, in the questions, in the societal doubt.
I don’t know what it is like and because of that, at some point, I would’ve had an “I don’t care approach,” BUT what I feel doesn’t matter: someone out there is struggling, being bullied, or contemplating suicide, and I have the ability to be their voice, to get their message heard, and that is the path I choose. I don’t care if it’s biological, psychological, or what the reasoning behind it is; someone’s gender doesn’t affect anyone in a negative manner and it makes them happy as an individual, so at this point, I’m going to leave the judging to the people in the white fluffy wigs and take the live and let live approach. Sexual education is my purpose in life, and I enjoy fulfilling my purpose VERY MUCH!