Gender Identity is Inside Every One of Us

Sexuality_confusion_crossedToday in The Age, commentator Bronwyn Winter laments the problems of socially imposed gender roles.

I would like to live in a world where ‘male’ and ‘female’ cease to be categories of social distinction, to the considerable advantage of those labelled ‘male’ and the considerable disadvantage of those labelled ‘female’.

And this sounds like a great idea. However, she then goes on to conflate gender identity as imposed by society, and gender identity as known by individuals:

We are born in the bodies we are born in: they are neither ‘wrong’ nor ‘right’, they just are. Biologically speaking, men cannot be women and women cannot be men. But we can be men and women differently to how society prescribes we should be.

This argument is just flat wrong, evidenced by the vast number of people who are happy with their gender identity, and those who object to the identity assigned them at birth. There’s a massive difference between social gender – the gender identity and behaviours imposed by society – and internal/personal gender identity. The first is informed by society’s conservatism, and the other by the individual. And of course, the absence of evidence to prove that someone is who they say they are cuts both ways, because a subjective viewer can’t prove you’re not.

Put another way, the argument that society should be genderless is well and good, but the argument that people shouldn’t be allowed to alter their bodies however they see fit is backward looking and regressive. No woman has to have a psychological work-up for two years to have a breast increase or reduction, but just mention that you believe you’re the other sex to that you were assigned at birth and just see the barriers pushed upwards.

Bottom line: we are all human beings. We should be allowed to dress, behave and alter our bodies however we see fit. And just because you’re young doesn’t mean you should be ignored. Just try saying that to all the kids who were abused and are now having their day in court with the royal commission into child abuses.

Read the full article on The Age.

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