Here’s the thing about gender – you know, that thing your school teachers used interchangeably with the word ‘sex’? – it’s not real. Well, it’s about as real as your belief in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Meaning, though there is no factual and physical evidence of Hogwarts ever having existed, your consumption of the Harry Potter books, and complete immersion in that fictional universe makes is as good as real for you. But I should probably leave the effective analogy making to feminist activist Laci Green.
Green runs a successful video series called ‘Sex+‘, meant to be read as “sex positive” (bearing a positive attitude towards sex and sexuality) but conveniently also works as “sex plus” (your low down on sex, and more!) Green’s work as an educator means she’s given loads of lectures at universities about how sex works and how sexuality is deployed. But it’s her bite size videos on YouTube that really sell. In this one, Laci Green takes on the daunting concept of gender, inviting viewers to think of gender as a suitcase. It’s like pulling somebody else’s luggage off an airport conveyor belt and then trying to live with it. The clothes may be too small, the shoes could pinch. Not comfortable, we imagine.
The same discomfort emerges when our gender is reduced to our genitals. Newsflash! Vaginas don’t make a woman, just like penises don’t make a man! So if we all have a say in what we want to pack in our suitcases, why can’t we have a say in what gender we identify with?