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  • Writer's pictureKate Warren

Gender is not a binary

Hi, and thank you for stopping by. I'm Kate, and this is the Stay U Blog.

As mentioned at the end of the last blog, this will be topic with a lot of mixed opinions. The thing is with opinions though, everyone has one, everyone is entitled to one, and they are often based off feelings and not facts. I'll admit, I have some pretty strong opinions, but I always try to base them off research, knowledge, science - essentially, the facts.

When it comes to the topic of Gender there is quite a bit of confusion, mixed with a pinch of religious beliefs, and a generous helping of ignorance. I am going to present you with facts and my knowledge gained through university study. There are also some fantastic websites with accurate and non-biased information out there - I will include them at the end of this blog. My feelings will play a part in this blog, as I do identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, as do some of my friends, but I don't want that to overshadow the truth.

FACT: Biological sex is not gender, despite most forms we need to fill in today asking for 'gender', but only having "Male", "Female", or "Other" as the options, which is referring to someone's biological sex. When people say, "Gender is not a binary", this means that gender is not limited to only two categories of male or female. Gender is a personal identity and is socially constructed. Non-binary is a term used to identify a person who does not identify within the gender binary (male or female).

FACT: There are three biological (also known as anatomical) sexes, not two - male, female, and intersex. Yes, people who cannot be labelled as definitely male, or definitely female do walk among us, and that's their right. It's also science.

FACT: There are currently more than 80 (yes, eight zero) 'genders'. Some are gender "identities", some are sexual preferences, and some are genders used specifically by certain cultures or countries. The most commonly used genders make up the acronym LGBTQIA, which is synonymous with the queer community. It contains sexual preferences (lesbian, gay, bi, asexual), gender identities (trans, queer) and the third sex (intersex). A plus sign is often added, as genders are rapidly developing and changing. They occur on a spectrum which really means they are infinite. Perhaps the plus should be an infinity sign?

FACT: Non-binary is a term for a gender identity that is not only man or woman. Non-binary people may be partially, a combination, or neither of these things. Non-binary is an "umbrella" term that can include people who are transgender, meaning their gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth.

FACT: Someone does not have to have surgery to be transgender (or just 'trans' for short). You can be born a female (biologically speaking) but identify as a male. You can keep the anatomical features that make you male or female (breasts, penis, etc) and still identify as the opposite sex, or both sexes.

FACT: Being transgender is not a new thing. In fact, some ancient cultures recognised it as a third gender (seeing it as a biological sex identity), sitting proudly beside male and female.

To read an amazing article about the history of trans people, visit this link - ABC Article.

I have not only written this article to be informative, and share my opinion, but to let anyone reading this, who may identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, that you are not alone. We are becoming recognised and we are becoming accepted. There is still a long way to go, but that doesn't mean we give up hope. If you need to connect with someone, drop me an email, or call QLIFE on 1800 184 527.

That's all for now, but my next blog will actually be a Special edition - all about Self Care for Winter. Hope to see you there and remember - a problem shared is a problem halved.

Great websites to visit for more information:

  • Beyond Blue provides helpful contacts and websites for LGBTIQ+ resources.

  • QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTIQ+ people.

  • LGBT Foundation is a national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities.

  • ReachOut helps under 25s with everyday questions through to tough times. They have a range of online resources and forums.

  • LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is an organisation that supports healthy lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex, queer and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities throughout Australia and the world.

  • Twenty10 incorporating GLCS NSW provides a range of support services and social spaces for people of diverse genders, sexualities and sexes in NSW. Services are aimed specifically at people aged under 26.

  • ABCQueer has compiled a list of national and state-based support services relevant to LGBTQIA+ people, their families and friends.

  • And my personal favourite, the wonderful team at Minus18, who are an Australian organisation that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of, and provide a safe environment for, same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people in Australia.

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