I first encountered the subject of gender fluidity at my job about a year ago. I had been elected to participate in a three-panel discussion in which I was to be the moderator. In accordance with the topic, we were asked how we as the participants would like to be identified. One young lady wanted to be identified as a “They” instead of a “She.” She said that she identified as being “non-Binary.”
I had no idea what that meant, so I asked her, “What is the difference between non-binary and bisexuality since in her definition, the only thing that I could see was that she was a bisexual woman. Her definition of gender fluidity was that she found both sexes appealing. The actual definition is as follows: Definition: A spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine. Initially, I was confused because, she presented as female. Every and anyone could see that.This was my introduction to gender fluidity, and while I initially did not understand it, I had to respect it as much as I would expect anyone to understand who I chose to marry and live the rest of my life with.
I understood her definition painstakingly and chose to resign from the position of moderator for a myriad of reasons which are inconsequential to the writing of this article.
I have come to understand that gender identity is a “thing.” There are people that may choose to identify with characteristics of both sexes, and as of my initial meeting with someone that embodied that identity, I have seen examples of this in our society.
|Pop Star Marilyn|
Increasingly, the lines are blurred between male and female. As a man that identifies as being a gay male but still a biological man, I initially found the subject of gender fluidity confusing. In my mind, you were either male or female; straight, gay or bisexual with nothing in between. But gender fluidity is nothing new. Those of us that are old enough to remember David Bowie, an artist that pushed the limits of gender identity during the realms of his career. At the peak of his success, I had no idea what he chose to present himself as, but that did not prevent me from enjoying his music. I respected who he was as an artist. Who he presented himself to be was not a concern of mine.
Boy George also pushed the boundaries of who he chose to present himself as being and we accepted him as well as enjoying his music. However, his predecessor did not enjoy the fame that he did at the time. Pop star Marilyn had hopes of enjoying the fame that Boy George did in the early eighties but was not as well received here in the United States. Theoretically, it appeared as if we here in the United States had already seen someone who chose to deliberately enjoy pushing the envelope of gender identity. We had no desire to see it again. It appeared as if the ideology behind gender fluidity was accepted if the artist restricted bending his gender to the stage. It was okay to identify as being gender fluid if it was not something that was carried to the streets and presented as the norm.
|Examples of Gender Fluidity|
Increasingly, gender fluidity is being accepted on and off stage, on the runway and off. It is a form of self-expression and identity. Or further put, it is an actual “thing.” It is more than just boys putting on make-up without the intent of becoming female. The ideology is that the person is neither male nor female despite the body parts that they were assigned at birth.
I have learned that gender fluidity is neither right nor wrong…it simply is.
And like it or not, we must accept it as it is simply another form of self-expression as well as identity.
~ J.L. Whitehead