The living world has been ceaselessly evolving and will be till the end of time. Humans are inherently complex species with inexplicable thoughts and emotions and to assume that nature would be so straight in creating people whose goal is to just procreate would be naïve.
For a very long time, the words sex and gender have been interchangeable. They are used synonymously, which is not a right practice, as it leads to many misconceptions.
The biological sex is the chemical and genetic makeup of the body and is completely physical. It is determined at birth and only defines the anatomy of a person. The biological sexes of a person can be – male, intersex and female.
Intersex is where an individual is born with a mixed set of reproductive organs, whereas males and females are born with only one set of their respective reproductive organs.
The reason for having two distinctive anatomies is reproduction, as humans are a form of life, and like any being, they need to keep the species going. But as mentioned, with humans, things are never simple.
But gender is much more than this: Gender is all about how an individual perceives themselves. It leans towards the social and cultural roles of each of the sexes in society, with which we can conclude that gender is all but a social construct.
There are three major classes which define gender:
- Gender Identity: An individual’s gender identity is what they feel on the inside and who they are comfortable being.
The different gender identities are – man, non-binary, agender and woman.
Besides the two binary genders (man and woman), there are individuals with non-binary genders, who don’t identify strictly as a man or woman; they may identify as both, or as another gender entirely. They are also called queer. They include transgender, gender fluid, gender flux and many more. Whereas agender is where an individual does not identify with any gender at all.
- Gender Expression: As the term suggests, it is how one presents themselves in the world. The different gender expressions are – masculine, androgynous, non-binary and feminine.
Androgynous people express both masculine and feminine traits, whereas non-binary people express themselves as neither.
- Gender Presentation: This is how the world perceives one’s identity and is based off of stereotypes and different cultural upbringing.
A person whose gender is consistent with their birth sex is called cisgender, while people who don’t identify with it are called transgender.
Genderfluid is where a person’s gender identity varies and they don’t identify with a fixed gender. Whereas genderflux is where a person’s gender expression.
Image credits: Teen healthcare blog
With this, we come to an important conclusion that there is no correlation between sex and gender. Sex is built-in, whereas, gender is attained by an individual, as it is a result of an array of factors.
There are no fixed boundaries separating genders as there is a broad spectrum dedicated to it. No gender superior to another. Every person has their free will to express themselves in any way they want, as is their right.
Now, this is where sexual orientation comes into play.
Sexual orientation is about who ‘you’ as an individual feel attracted to.
Like for gender, sexual orientation also has a wide spectrum dedicated to it.
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There are heterosexuals-people attracted to the opposite gender, homosexuals-people attracted to the same gender, bisexuals-people attracted to both the binary genders, pansexuals-people attracted to all genders, demisexuals-people that are only attracted to another once they form an emotional bond with them, asexuals-people that feel romantic attraction but are incapable of feeling sexual attraction, aromantics-people that feel no romantic attraction, and many more.
There is no hard and fast rule that one can fall under only one possibility. As said, there is a spectrum where many of them overlap
Sexuality is who you go to bed with, and gender identity is who you go to bed as.-Brenda Jordan (Genderfluid YouTuber)
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Different sexual orientations are not a modern concept, and have been in existence throughout history. For instance, in Homer’s well-renowned work Iliad, he depicts the relationship between the two heroes, Achilles and Patroclus, as a romantic one. In Sheridan la Fanu’s famous work Carmilla, Carmilla’s character is that of a lesbian vampire.
Although it has been considered unnatural and a taboo for centuries, people are breaking free from these orthodox beliefs.
In almost every nation, June is celebrated as “Pride Month”. Pride is a month long celebration, protest and political activism surrounding the LGBTQ community. It was a tradition that started in America to commemorate the Stonewall riots that took place in the late 1960s and has now spread worldwide in its own different forms.
Image credits: Voices Of Youth
The pride flag symbolizes the LGBTQ community and each colour has a meaning associated to it.
Image credits: The Odyssey Online
Pride Month is held to raise awareness about these different communities in the form of plays, music, movies and many more fun activities. It is also a positive and supportive platform for people to come together, as most of them face similar issues concerning societal discrimination. They help each other with acceptance and show the world that they are not alone.
Pride month is important because it gives a chance to different communities to show the world that they are no different from everyone around them. It sends out a message that love is love, no matter what, and that conventional beliefs and baseless hate cannot come in the way of one’s lifestyle and preferences.
Image credits: Feminism India
Image credits: Feminism India
Image credits: The Daily Wire