Male or female? Neither one nor t’other? Both?


The majority of you reading this will probably be able to answer yes to being either male or female, certainly with regards to your sex at birth. Some of you may also have transitioned from male-to-female or female-to-male, with others of you having been born with both male and female genitalia. What happens however, if you are born either male or female but you don’t feel like either of these “fit” your gender? This morning on my way into work I took the time to listen to the following programme:

Called ‘Beyond Binary,’ it’s only 30 minutes long and if you are at all interested in gender, it’s definition and evolution, then I can thoroughly recommend it. It looks at the concept of gender and how it is traditionally defined as binary, either male or female, with nothing in between. It explores the concept of gender as a spectrum. Why should a person’s gender have to be either male or female? OK, so birth sex may be either of the two, but a person’s sex does not define their sexuality or gender.

Confused? Yeah, OK so maybe you are, but it’s not rocket science and if you take some time to listen to the programme you’ll most likely find that you learn something about gender and how it’s not the binary construct that the majority of us are educated to believe.

“We’re all learning along the way.” 

These are the words of Dr. Polly Carmichael, the Director of the Tavistock Clinic, the gender identity clinic to which people are referred. This is how it should be. Just because you might not understand how it is that there are people who associate as being both male and female or any such variations on the gender spectrum, does not make such people any less real or worthy of the respect you would afford to someone who is comfortable being either male or female.

Food for thought? I hope so 🙂