If someone asks me what (gender) I identify as, I always answer that I’m a cisgender female. To be honest though, that is my sex. There is a very clear difference between sex and gender since sex is mostly just defined by our genitals. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, sex is “either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures.” And gender?
Let’s delve more into what gender identity actually is. Our brain does not always function the same way our body does. When talking about gender expression, it’s what your brain’s dominating gender is. A person might have female genitals but identify as male, and vice versa. This disconnect between the body and the brain’s domination gender, when it becomes distressing, is called gender dysphoria—when your mind is not comfortable with the outer body it’s been ‘born into’.
For me, I have never felt any certain disdain regarding my body. Yes getting periods suck, and so does having breasts somedays, but I am fine with the body I was born with. I am a cis female, and my pronouns are she/her. This post, however, is not about my gender, but about gender in general.
Let’s talk about the gender roles. Femininity and masculinity are said to play a major part in our genders. These are basically two broad classification of all humanly possible traits. How our bodies move, how we speak, what we like, what we wear; everything can be classified into these two major groups. But I’m sure we all are well aware of the fact that ‘completely feminine’ or ‘completely masculine’ people can only exist in movies. We know that being feminine does not make you a girl or vice versa. Boys who are feminine are still boys, and girls who are masculine are still girls. Then what is the basis of gender?! Who actually came up with all these ideas of dividing people into only two genders? I don’t think I’m ever going to find out. Because, for me, gender will always be something inexplicable. It’s like asking someone why 2+2=4. There is no real answer. It is what it is!
For all the people who have struggled with their gender identities and keep pushing onwards, I really think you are some of the bravest people, because, especially in India, I feel sometimes gender can be an even bigger taboo than sex and menstruation.
I make it a practice to respect everyone’s opinion as well as their pronouns. And I personally believe that defining your pronouns is much better defining your gender. However at the end of the day, I still don’t seem to understand why gender creates such a havoc in our society. “Oh it’s because you’re a boy/girl.” “You can’t have two genders, that’s impossible.” “Ew, dude how can you be a hijra?” “Hey, don’t make it up, one always has a gender, being genderless is only in your head.” “What? Now you’re being one of those feminists by behaving like a girl?”
I simply want to be in a world where nobody asks me to declare my gender on every official document and the headlines do not focus on a particular achiever being a ‘girl’ or a ‘trans’ person or any other label. I want a place where stereotypes do not make up for my identity. At last I’m sure at least 40% of people reading this would be thinking, oh this one is definitely genderqueer or something! Trust me I’ve already asked myself that before! But to be completely honest guys, I can’t care any less, because being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve definitely learnt one thing: no matter what labels I choose to use, I will always be unique, and I will always be the same Bhorum.