Setting aside what genitalia one is born with, most people conform to the notion that gender is made up of females and males. While most people are content with living the expected lives of the gender they were assigned according to their genitals, there are many who feel their gender is completely opposite of their assignment. Those individuals that are true to themselves will seek out a life the enables them to live as the gender they feel, with or without surgical intervention. Still though, these people conform to the idea that gender is either male or female, they just don’t happen to fit the one chosen for them.
Genderqueer people are the rest of the population that fall into neither category specifically. Our entire world is based around that binary system; and there is little tolerance for anything other than that system. Society doesn’t understand transgendered people as a whole but what they can understand is that they want to be the opposite of their birth gender assignment. Society has no idea how to handle those that fall outside the gender binaries. It is a difficult concept to explain, even to the most open minded.
If you were to look at gender as boxes to check off on a form, you will likely see only male or female, or in my case you would see “other”. “Other” encompasses a whole lot of people, to which that box does not really apply. If you were to look at gender as a line graph with male on one end and female on the other and fill in the rest with genderqueer and intergendered people, you would notice that there is a lot more space between them than just that one box labeled “other”.
Back in the day, there were lesbians, gays and straight people. Anything other than that was considered confused or in denial. Bisexual people weren’t taken very seriously. The need to choose one or the other left a lot of people hiding their whole selves from view. Ultimately the realization that people can love who they are attracted to overshadowed the need to conform to the homosexual or heterosexual boxes. Bisexual and pansexual are now embraced by the community. Like the genderqueer, those that love outside of the gender confines don’t fit a specific box either. There are as many types of love as there are people. They too take up a good portion of space on the spectrum.
Having a spectrum for all things is the only way people can confidentially find their place and their own comfort. Eliminating tiny boxes would alleviate intolerance and the need for differences. We would all fall somewhere on that spectrum, but we would all be on it together.
Echo resides in northern New Jersey with her wife and the two youngest of their five children. You can visit her blog at dysphoricallyspeaking.blogspot.com