Gender variance and society

Our society considers gender variance only on the basis of the natural assumption that gender is either male and female. This has two important consequences: on  one hand, it implies that there must always be a correspondence between the biological sex, the gender felt and its expression; on the other hand, that there is only one correct way to be male or female and that any experience that deviates from the norm must be “realigned”. It is thought, for example, that, by nature,  girls are sweeter, more empathetic, quieter and more thoughtful, while  boys on the contrary are more into physical contact, sports and are naturally  more lively, reckless  and even aggressive. In reality, these associations are not natural and depend more on the interpretation that in a certain historical moment a given society makes of the concept of masculine and feminine. The definition of what is appropriate for males and females varies depending on the historical period and the cultural context we refer to and is often established based on what is to be considered normal and what should be considered a deviation (or disease). In some social groups, people who do not identify with their biological sex, such as for the Two Spirits among the Native Americans. Such people are not only recognised but have some privileges.

Western society, on the contrary, is extremely structured on a binarism that reduces the human being  to a series of oppositions forgetting the fact that each person is always much more complex. This can be clearly seen in the interpretation of the meanings that are attributed to gender: our society recognizes only two categories, male and female, and establishes well-differentiated rules of behavior for each of them. It is a very rigid system, with well-defined rules, constantly indicating  what are the limits that cannot and must not be exceeded in order not to end up socially isolated. In this regard, it is interesting to note that the requests for the intervention of a specialist, in prepubertal age, are greater for children who were assigned male  at birth, compared to those assigned  female. Our society becomes even more severe when people’s masculinity – and the values ​​it represents – is called into question.

Being aware that the ‘problem’ lies in the society in which we live and not in our gender variant children should be  the starting point for every parent. Such deconstruction is neither simple nor immediate, because we have always been told  that a person can only be male or female on the basis of their genital organs observed at birth. However, reality is more complex: the same biology informs us that, even with regard to sexual characteristics, there are not only two categories defined and opposite to each other, but a multiplicity of congenital variations within the sex spectrum (anatomical variations, chromosomal , gonadal, and/or hormonal), which concern the so-called intersex people. To refrain all these differences and to homologate them according to binary  criteria (male / female, normal / pathological), not only prevents us from  describing  the reality in which we live, but it is a real violence toward those who, for one reason or another, do not feel represented by these two categories.

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