A Person’s a Person — no matter their gender.
By: Alex Earls, Special Contributor
I am the proud friend and supporter of multiple people who don’t fall into what we call the societal norm. These friends either have different sexual orientations than being heterosexual or have a gender identity that differs from the binary of boy and girl. These friends are fantastic people whom are equal to any person in my eyes because, surprise, they’re also people.
Sadly, a strong portion of people in the world don’t agree with the way I feel about these deserving individuals. People everywhere want to change their identity to feel comfortable with the body they’ve been given, even if they aren’t necessarily changing physical attributes, yet in turn people take them down without even understanding what gender identity is. These people are stepped on solely for being different, but is that any way to make a productive society? Why don’t we take a step back and try to understand why there is gender identity and what exactly it is?
To start, there is not necessarily a direct link between a person’s sexual orientation and their gender identity unless they’ve said that is the case. Sexual orientation is, in it’s most basic definition, whom a person is attracted to sexually, emotionally, or romantically. Gender identity, though, is very different from that. A gender identity, as described by the Human Rights Campaign, is “the innermost concept of being within the binary of male and female, being a combination of both, or being neither.” While one person could identify with their given sex, another person could not identify with that at all. The individual’s gender identity is a perception of theirself. All of us have a gender identity whether or not we realize it.
An equally important aspect of a person’s gender is their gender expression. Gender expression is how a person displays their gender to people around them, from the way they dress, to the way they act, to the way they talk. This also includes the usage of appropriate pronouns when referring to them, upon their request. And like people who fall into the gender binary, we still express our gender just like anyone not in the binary. This expression is generally what many people point out as being weird or unnatural, but the way a person dresses or acts shouldn’t be what people pick out against other individuals.
Another key factor of gender identity is individuality. Everyone is different in infinite ways, which seems like an easy concept to grasp, yet people still feel the need to bring each other down based on appearance or how they identify. With free will we all can make our own decisions on how we live our own lives. Because we are all individuals, we can’t try to force others to conform into a societal normality because there will always be protest. We have to allow people around us to be accepted into society no matter their gender.
When people don’t accept other people into society it has repercussions to the productivity of the entire populations. Giving businesses the ability to discriminate based on gender and making people with non-binary genders fight for their rights as humans destroys communities and raises unemployment. Is the U.S. not the land of the free? Do we not have the freedom of speech and expression? Let’s stand together to let people everywhere know that we accept them as a person no matter what their gender is.