|Gender Binary: Does it Really Take Two?|
|By Dominique Mendez-Rose|
This term states that Gender is one of two things. Gender is either female or male. This maybe true for some people however this is not the case for all individuals. Some people assume that sex and gender are one in the same. However this is not true. Your sex is determined by biology whereas gender is socially constructed. Society leads us to believe that having a penis means that your gender is male. If you have a vagina than your gender is female. This notions leaves many people out in the cold. What happens to those who either have both sex organs or those who don't feel as though their sex organs match what their gender expression is.
Gender binary is constructed in a manner where it forces people to feel as though they must fix within the category to feel apart of the norm. A normal task as simple as using the bathroom is called into question when the world is all about Gender Binary. Using the restroom A task that is done by every human being on this very planet is considered to some to be a difficult daily struggle for others. Transgender and non-gender conforming individuals are faced with these difficult situations when it comes to using the restroom. The concept of “what bathroom is the right bathroom to use?” is a question that they are faced with every day. There seems to be such fear that erupts when the concept of gender neutral bathrooms is insinuated. The fear for safety for women and children, often leaves out safety for transgender people. However many people forget that bathroom activism isn’t a brand new notion. Bathroom Activism has been set in motion since the Civil Rights Movement, where the bathrooms was separated by class and race.
Being able to define one’s own identity and to have society respect it, is the prime reason why gender binary is a principle that we must do away with. One should have the sole right to make their own decisions including the right to use which ever bathroom one feels most comfortable using. However we aren’t permitted to live in a world that is free from the patriarchy binary gender systems. Society relays on facts and the want people to prove their manhood or their womanhood. What is a display of womanhood? What is a display of manhood? Is it only physical? Do breast prove that one is a woman? Does being able to produce working sperm mean that you are a real man? What about the mother of two who had to have a double mastectomy after finding out she had breast cancer, does not qualify as a woman anymore because she lost her breast?
Don’t view the world in black and white because that no longer is the way of the society. Unmasking your mind and removing what you thought you knew about gender. Realizing that gender is not binary or an idea that society deems as right. On February 8, 2015 Fusion published their results from a poll that was conducted with 1,000 Americans. When told that there are many countries that believe there is a third gender that is neither female or male. When asked which more closely aligned with their beliefs, 50% of the respondents believe that gender is a spectrum and that some fit outside the conventional category, 46% believe their are only two genders- male and female and 4% didn’t know.
We must consider gender is outside of the binary and understand that everyone should be treated equally. Transgender individuals deserve the same protection as anyone else. The discussion of safety comes up because according to the Human Rights Campaign website, they partnered up with the Trans People of Color Coalition released a report detailing the violence facing transgender people. In this report it stated that at least 21 transgender people have been murdered in the US in 2015. Transgender people especially of color are faced with danger more frequent that anyone else.There needs to be justice for all transgender people. They need to be treated with the same as any other cys gendered person.
According to the Washington Post’s article, “8 critical facts about the state of Transgender America” by Danielle Paquette, suggest that Transgender people face a much higher suicide risk. A survey in “Injustice at every turn said that 41% of transgendered people attempted suicide compared to the 1.6% of general population. Homeless shelters can also be especially hostile environment for transgender people. More than half have reported being harassed.
Justice is needed for all. It is not just a bathroom phenomenon it is much bigger than that. Transfeminism is going to help provide a better understanding that like Koyoma said “We have become increasingly aware that the diversity is our strength, not our weakness”. With this knowledge we will be able to educate others to allow everyone to be comfortable in the skin they are in.