So, gender's a big issue right now, huh? Amirite? Yep, hold onto your hats. I'm going there.
First, the stuff I remember from sociology class back in the day.
Sex is the biological stuff you were born with. It's the physical definition that decides things like how you pee and your tolerance for different medications. This stuff is important by the way. However you self-identify, you still need to have somewhere on your record that you were born a particular sex so that meds don't kill you. Anti-depressants and anti-psychotic meds are an example. Also, alcohol is metabolised differently depending on the sex you were born. Women have less alcohol dehydrogenase - the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of alcohol. So if you transition from female to male, you're still likely to get liver damage if you drink the same volumes as someone who was born male. Sex is usually, but not always, a binary arrangement. You're male or female. When this is not the case (about one time in every 1,500 births) there are - I was informed by a friendly doctor whose job it is to decide the sex of babies where there's a doubt - chemical tests that can be done to work it out. Google confirms this. Not an expert, but it seems to be a thing.
Gender is all the politics that begins the moment someone first asks: 'Is it a boy or a girl??' I'll leave aside for a second that it's always that way around. Noticed that? Never 'Is it a girl or a boy?' Anyhow. Gender isn't the physical fact of being female or male (note how weird that sounds? Realise you're used to seeing 'male or female' all the freaking time? THAT'S gender politics. Insidious huh?). Gender is a combination of cultural expectation and subjective choice regarding the 'meaning' of the sex a person was born into or now has. For the most part, gender is expressed as - and I'm going to avoid leading with the boys' term again, just so you can notice how it feels - feminine and masculine.
Arguably sex is on a sliding scale and gender is to an even greater extent since you can literally express your gender however the heck you choose regardless of any physical anything. Whether people will accept it or not is another matter, but you're totally free to self-identify in any way at all.
There are binary definitions, then there's transgender. This isn't the conclusive definition here. It's just a place to start, but transgender is about transitioning (that's the 'trans' bit) from one gender to another. So, if someone is born male but they FEEL female and want to exhibit feminine gender characteristics and mannerism, they may choose to transition from masculine to feminine dress, pronouns, etc. Here's where it gets a bit confusing. Ready? OK. Sometimes, people choose to have their sex reassigned which, confusingly, is called gender reassignment. You could decide to reassign your gender at breakfast and complete the process by lunch or sooner. Sex reassignment, though, generally involves surgery or hormone therapy. With all of these things, assume 'but not always' is unspoken. It's complicated.
Not everyone has a gender. So... some people don't have one. I've met people who don't have a gender and I'm totally cool with it, but it is really hard to know how to talk about them, because ... pronouns. I slip up sometimes. I know a person with a beard and a deep voice who doesn't identify as anything gendered. I think of him as a man. I just 'himmed' him. It's difficult. You might need to train yourself. In this person's case, he/they don't really mind. Some people will though. Another person I know falls into the opposite category. Very feminine looking. Doesn't identify as a gender. There probably needs to be understanding on both sides. We'll generally mess up as we've been taught binary sex and gender definitions forever, so tolerance of people's Reticular Activating Systems only being able to process so much info is necessary. Similarly, if someone makes it clear they want to be referred to a certain way, we need to do our best to honour that. By 'we' I'm not meaning 'those of us who fit the binary stereotype'. I mean humans. Whatever your gender or sex, you'll tred on someone's toes at some point because THIS IS COMPLICATED! So, forgiveness matters quite a bit.
Sex, gender and sexuality are different things. You're attracted to whomever you're attracted to. Often sex and gender are important to that, but not always. Sapiosexuals, for instance, are drawn to people's intellect rather than their bods. Not everything is about your physical form.
And finally... There is so much more to write, however, I'll make this the final part. Spirituality. Uh-oh. Right. My personal experience (and you may have another) is that spiritual energy has a dynamic polarity that reflects binary gender. There is a strong feminine spiritual energy and a strong masculine spiritual energy. Again, a TON could be written on why the feminine has been squished from the mass consciousness over the years, but it's there. Spiritual energy starts out as a kind of limitless expanse of loving and creative energy that is above any of our definitions for it - including gender. Controversial. Sorry. Not sorry. This is MY take, and this is my blog, so do with it what you will. This energy then splits out into masculine and feminine (thought I'd give the guys that one). Both equally important. You can tap into that. And it can help to inform your own experience of your own gender. If you're non-binary, still play with tapping into it and see what happens. We all have both Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine within us. The Holy Spirit or Source energy or Christ Consciousness or whatever you perceive it to be is within all of us. So however you self-define, make peace with both poles of that polarity, because you can't escape either of them. Find them within yourself and love on them.
All that being said... here are some videos to help you connect with your gender in a spiritual way. These ones happen to be Christian. You don't have to be Christian to watch them, and they're male-centric because of the 'God' thing, but they're powerful.
After that, you will find 'word medicine' I channelled a while back for men and women. If you identify as neither, you don't need to use them as affirmations. If you identify on some level with both, read both every day. They'll help you to connect with that polarity within you and heal conflicts about the polarity. There is a North and South Pole. Just because you live somewhere on a sliding scale between those poles doesn't mean the magnets don't pull. They do. So, make peace with that magnetism and define yourself as North North East or whatever. None of my business. Hope you find this helpful wherever you are on the globe of sex and gender.
Love yourself. Be yourself.
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