Why I am Gender Ambiguous

At times I style myself to just “fuck gender” and yet there are time where I don a skirt and a ribbon for my hair. I too feel the need to conform and felt very lost as a child trying to find my category, my niche.  Correct me if I am completely off base here, but it is not the case that the majority of people feel lost at one time or another? I mean how many girls were tomboys, not wanting to wear skirts, cook, play with dolls or any of those other stereotypical feminine things. And how many young boys liked high heels, painted nails, and the colour pink? But if this is the case, why don’t we see many men or women with these same tastes? Because society gets a hold of us and most succumb to the pressure and the overwhelming need to conform to the gender that “matches” their outer sex.

We have been led astray in believing that one’s gender is homologous to one sex. We have all felt the pressure to some degree through ads, peers, parents, teachers, books, etc. Take for example washroom signs. Bathrooms divisions are “supposedly” based on male and female sex organs but the picture to depict the washroom for the female sex is a figure in a dress. Why is this? Isn’t wearing a dress a gender expression rather than the depiction of a person’s biological sex? Shouldn’t the woman’s washroom sign show breasts or hips or some other female sex characteristic? This is just one example showing how our society neatly blends the two, making gender a synonym for sex.

The moment we are born, the doctor proclaims the sex and immediate the gender falls neatly on top, very few question the assumption that a boy will be masculine and a girl will be feminine. So what can we do? In my mind I have built a perfect utopian world where we have three categories of sex (male, female and intersex) which are used solely for legal purposes, while gender expression is open and gender identifying is unnecessary. However I realize that this is not plausible. We will always have this need to conform and to identify and certain gender roles will always be associated with each sex.

I must admit that at first I was confused for I thought trans and other gender query people were the ones who had felt the negative effects of this gender/sex labelling process and yet seemed so quick to create all these new labels, these new subcategories (lesbian, stone butch, dyke, transsexual, FTM, MTF, etc.). This initially appeared to me only to further label and segregate individuals. But now I realize where I have been misled. Being labelled is inevitable, but identifying with these new groups allows the person to choose their own label, their own gender and sex; rather than just accepting the one forced upon them at birth. Furthermore, in identifying and choosing a label one finds others like themselves. They find a support network and gain the knowledge that they are not alone. Louis Sullivan is a prime example of this.

But the problem arises in that discrimination occurs between the “main” groups (heterosexual male and heterosexual female) and all other “sub” gender groups (dyke, drag king, lesbian, transsexual, bisexual, etc). These groups are looked down upon and are continually subjected to prejudices. This is why I have chosen the username gender ambiguous. I have chosen this not because I am unsure of my gender but rather I am gender ambiguous in that if I must resign to being labelled, at least I will be ambiguous by choosing to be labelled (by identifying) under more than one category. By allowing my gender to be fluid (which it is naturally!), I can fit into many categories and can wear many labels. Labels are essential and yet it is also labels that separate us, that allow for this discrimination. It is my hope that in obtaining as many labels as possible, the categories will begin to overlap. And perhaps, it is in those overlaps that we can learn to relate to each other and overcome the still common notion that all gender expression outside of the dominant, main identity is inferior.

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~ by genderambiguous on April 13, 2010.

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