Welcome! Today I’d like do discuss gender and in particular the idea of the binary and people who fall outside of it. And since this topic is quite polarizing it’s hard to have a proper conversation about it. To most people Gender is binary and anything that falls outside it is unnatural. Now personally, I’m inclined to disagree. In any case. This is my attempt to convince people otherwise. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings by making this, or push an agenda. I have to ask: How is it that every group manages to feel like a victim? My family is fairly religious and conservative, and really dislike what I do. But I still love them. I think it’s really sad that these sorts of things can tear us all apart. So, Perhaps I can convince you that Queerness in general and the LGBT movement is not some kind of weird evil plot orchestrated to destroy society and the family and what have you. In reality, It’s actually nothing new. if anything, queerness was actually even more accepted in the past than it is now.
One only need glance at homer’s Iliad to discover the relationship between Patronicus and Achilles was a little more than mere friendship. The first thing to ask is this: why do we assume there are only 2 genders? This is the prevailing assumption, and is accepted as normal. But in some cultures, this is not the case. Some have as many as 5 or 6, while others simply create a third gender. Yet we all are aware that male and female exist. Which is why I’m inclined to believe there are 2 poles of gender, rather than a binary. There is a quote I’d like to share:
“Opposites are identical in nature, but different in Degree.-The Kybalion.”
When you consider that we already have labels like tomboy or sissy it makes you wonder how can we believe gender is some black and white concept? And I’ll admit I find the idea that there are millions of genders is rather absurd. But when you consider that our ideas of gender are largely social constructs and shaped by the culture we are raised in it starts to make more sense. Yet in spite of that, There is something about gender that is ingrained.
When you examine various cultures and time periods, you’ll find that the social expectations differ quite radically. To be honest, some of it is rather bizarre. Take High Heels as an example. We think of them as women-swear. It’s something sultry, sexy- A symbol of femininity. But when you examine their origins- you’ll discover that were originally used in horse-riding and eventually became status symbols worn by men in positions of power. These nobles wore wigs, tights, elaborate dresses and adorned themselves with lace. And at the time, Nobody had an issue with that. Actually, most of them were the height of manliness and trained killers. I mean, if you Laughed at them, they’d probably challenge you to a duel. So Appearances can be deceiving. And It’s the same with long hair- It used to be perfectly manly to good head of hair- mustache optional. But if you do it now, You’ll be frowned on. So Why is that? Well, You can trace the idea that men should have short hair right back to the trenches of the first world war. It was the first war of it’s kind. In the muck of the trenches, poor hygiene made Lice and disease a big issue. So they invented the buzz cut. And since nobody wanted to look like they’d dodged the draft, so they copied it to look cool. And if it won them points with the ladies, that was a bonus.
“Where were you during the great war?” Certainly not cowering at home like a coward. Here’s another interesting tidbit: During the Victorian era, Children of both genders wore dresses For starters, it made changing nappies pretty easy, compared to pants- which were a total pain to put on, so they decided to use dresses instead. Going further back, the same is true for genders other than male and female. When we look back into history, we can see that the gender binary is a recent invention.
The native Americans and other tribes also had what they called two-spirits- People who didn’t fit into the gendered role society has assigned to them. They were often singled out to become medicine men or shamans. Also, in India you have the Hijaras. Despite being considered sacred, they are at the bottom of society often forced to become prostitutes. And The kathoey or “lady-boys” of Thailand are often the butt of many a joke, but it is no laughing matter. There are complex social issues at work. And it gets even stranger: According to Classical Judaism there are 6 genders! But In today’s world such people are a dying breed. Excluding Male and Female, It lists the following genders:
1. Androgynous – having both male and female sexual characteristics
2. Tumtum – a person whose sexual characteristics are indeterminate or obscured
3. Ay’lonit – someone who identified as female at birth but develops male characteristics at puberty and is infertile
4. Saris – someone who is identified as male at birth but develops female characteristics at puberty and/or is lacking male genitalia.
For reasons as of yet unknown to us, some people change genders at puberty for unknown reasons. I guess we don’t understand how the human body works just yet. And that’s not even mentioning intersex people. They as a whole seem to get shoved under the rug. Why did people suddenly decide that none of these things ever existed? It shows a staggering amount of short shortsightedness! These things have only been suppressed in recent years, which is incredibly unhealthy. And Like anything suppressed, it will eventually resurface.
So what about The fact that Men and Women have distinct Sets of Chromosomes? XX for a man and XY for a man, And while I wish it were that simple, it isn’t. That’s yet another cultural myth. Have you heard of chimerism?
Sometimes during development 2 eggs are fertilized but end up merging into a chimera- Which is why transgender people exist. See this cat here? It’s a particularly prominent example.
I’ve found that the binary model just doesn’t cut it when faced with reality.. shades of grey start flooding in. After studying eastern philosophy, I realized the west has this massive problem where it tries twist the world to fit into black and white. And it will cut away until it fits. You get paradoxes and seeming contradictions because the mindset insists that something must be one or the other. The real world doesn’t work in absolutes. Things are always a matter of degree. I can’t get this line out of my head, even after all these years.
So Think about the idea of hot and cold for a moment. We all know they exist. You can bring something from a gentle chill to a Blazing inferno then back to a gentle sizzle, but can you say where heat ends and cold begins? At some point it becomes ambiguous. It’s lukewarm. Androgyny is just like being lukewarm. So rather than thinking of gender as a binary, consider it a spectrumIn the end, I think the binary model needs to be scrapped. We also don’t need to invent a million labels. It isn’t healthy. People need to learn a sense of self that comes from within. It’s obvious Gender ‘deviancy’ Is nothing new. As the old saying goes,: there is nothing new under the sun.”
And with understanding, comes compassion.
I’ve attached some links in the description.
The 5 sexes- why male and female are not enough.
Classical Judaism 6 genders
3 thoughts on “How many Genders are there?”
“The binary model needs to be scrapped.” Yay!!!
Great post, can’t understand why/how I missed it earlier.
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Since my comment I’ve also read the linked piece of the 5 sexes. Interesting how the medics always ‘know what’s best for us’ without consultation
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