Friday, January 11, 2019

The Spectrum

When I do training I talk about the gender spectrum or continuum, that gender is not a binary.

This is a few years old but I think at this time it is important to bring back again.
Challenging Gender Identity: Biologists Say Gender Expands Across A Spectrum, Rather Than Simply Boy And Girl
Medical Daily
By Samantha Olson
March 1, 2015

The sex designation of your brain and body may not be as black and white as scientists have believed it to be. Instead gender may fall somewhere on a gray scale. Scientists are trying to unravel the complex biological breakdowns of gender, and as they learn more, it’s becoming more apparent there aren’t just men and women among us. In a comprehensive breakdown published in the journal Nature, geneticists weigh in on the question of gender identity.

“The main problem with a strong dichotomy is that there are intermediate cases that push the limits and ask us to figure out exactly where the dividing line is between males and females,” biology sex expert Arthur Arnold at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Nature. “And that's often a very difficult problem, because sex can be defined a number of ways.”

The scientists discovered the XX and XY cells that differentiate between genders can actually behave in different ways. When scientists took a closer look, they found not all people have cells that contain the same set of genes. Instead, it’s more like a mosaic of different unevenly divided sex cells, which biologists have taken to calling “mosaicism.” Although it’s a rare condition that only affects about 1 in 15,000 people, it still leaves an unidentified population of society outside of the familiar dichotomy.
I think that this is something that intersex people know and most trans people know that there is more to gender than chromosomes.

When you think of gender as a spectrum then genderqueer and gender non-conforming makes more sense because they fall within the middle of the spectrum.
Because a human being cannot legally be labeled as anything but male or female in most countries, biologists believe it may be difficult to breach the matter. However, if societal acceptance can catch up with the science, sex on a spectrum may have a future in human history. Transgender and intersex advocates hope for a day when a person’s sex or gender are irrelevant in society’s parameters, albeit the skepticism of scientists such as Greenberg.
Since this was written more and more states and countries recognize gender non-conforming people. California just allowed an “X” to be used in place of a “M” or “F” on government documents.

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