Gender Binary, Gender Baggage
Tags: biology, gender, lgbtq, sex/sexuality, agender, cisgender, gender expression, gender identity, genderqueer, queer, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: Peer sex educator and YouTube sensation Laci Green breaks down the gender binary in this four minute video. Green proposes that the binary is kind of like two different suitcases packed with distinct expectations and beliefs, and which are arbitrarily imposed on people based on their genitalia. What this means is that the gender identity people adopt for themselves is sometimes different than the gender identity parents and medical professionals assign people at birth. As Green explains, Cis or Cisgender refers people whose gender identity aligns with the gender they were assigned at birth, while trans* or transgender typically designates people who identify as a gender, which is different than the one they were assigned at birth. In contrast, people who identify as agender do not subscribe to being either a man or a woman, and genderqueer is more of an umbrella term that similarly denotes people who refuse to identify with being either a man or a woman, but also includes people who simultaneously identify with aspects of both genders. The video works nicely as a short introduction to the gender binary, and the flurry of terms that emerge as a result of the fact that no single gender identity or expression perfectly corresponds to biological features, such as genitalia, chromosomes, or even the capacity to birth children. Laci Green does a good job of revealing that the gender binary is a rather unstable proposition and far more fluid than what is often pretended. Perhaps this inherent instability is why people so often seek to moor gender to biology, which they imagine to be more stable (e.g., "Getting pregnant made me feel like a woman," "Men are naturally more aggressive than women."). Yet instructors can push students to consider the way biology itself also fails to conform to a binary system of categorization. Contrary to popular belief, men have estrogen, women produce testosterone, chromosomes do not reliably determine sex, and the intersex community reminds us that despite the longstanding efforts of surgeons there is often more to genitalia than penises and vaginas.
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