Gender is a socially constructed idea of what “masculine” and “feminine” look, act, and feel like. Europeans had clear ideas that separated the human race into two sets of genders. On the other hand, most Native Americans societies acknowledged 3 to 5 different gender roles: Feminine, Masculine, Two Spirit female, Two Spirit male and Trans-gendered. Each tribe has their own specific term, but it all came down to these 5 genders.
Gender is something we’re taught from the moment we’re born. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was very specific that I didn’t want anything pink. I wanted greens, yellows, oranges, anything gender-less. I didn’t want to box my daughter into a limited view of what “female” meant, plus there is no way for parents to know if their child will be Two-Spirited or Transgender while still in the womb. It was also a custom for Native Americans parents to not interfere with nature and so among some tribes, children wore gender-neutral clothes until they reached an age where they decided for themselves which path they would walk. It’s no surprised that this Métis mother wanted to follow this tradition.
Guess what I got! Lots and lots of pink. People think girl = pink, boy = blue. My step-daughter daughter’s favourite colour is blue and my daughter’s favourite colour is orange, mine is chocolate brown.
Although gender isn’t generally not discussed, to an extent it affects almost everything we do. Just as with all other aspects of the European regard for Native Americans, gender variance was not tolerated. Today, people purchase pink toys, kitchenettes and dolls for little girls and purchase colourful, superhero, sportive, spy toys for boys. Our stores are separated into a “male” and “female” section guiding our choices. You are guided from childhood to think that there is only boy or girl and both comes with specific likes and behaviours. Gender binary polarises the “masculine” and the “feminine” and allows little in-between.
Take a step back and ask yourself how that makes transgender, homosexual and any kid that’s different feel.
Diversity makes the world go round. Everyone deserves to live their life as their most authentic self. This is basic human rights. Why don’t we make this felt from day 1? Everyone should feel good about who they are and comfortable to be themselves. We shouldn’t be forcing people into moulds that don’t quite fit.
Everyone deserves to be treated with the same dignity and respect as any one else. No one should live a better life simply because of their skin.
People have different views about what it means to be a man or a woman. Some believe you’re born the way you are, some believe your gender is the one with which you identify, some don’t really think it matters. The problem is that it’s not a question of having a different view. It’s a question of education and knowledge. Science has proven that there is a myriad of genders and that you are born that way. It’s not something you choose or learn.
Native American societies believed that some people are born with the spirits of both genders and express them so perfectly. It is if they have two spirits in one body.
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” – Coco Chanel
What I don’t understand is why people have to spend so much time worrying over what another person thinks or believes about him or herself.
“For anyone who feels scared or hopeless, know that we will never stop fighting for your rights.” – Ellen DeGeneres
The world isn’t black and white. It’s becoming clearer every day that genders are socially constructed. There is an infinite diversity of genders identities in the world. Native Americans societies traditionally assigned no moral gradient to love or sexuality; a person was judged for their contributions to their tribe and for their character.
Here is some very basic information about gender:
- Genderqueer: Someone whose gender identity is neither man nor woman, but can be a combination of genders. They identify outside of the gender binary. Native Americans societies considered genderqueer lucky to be able to see the world through the eyes of both genders at the same time and thought it was a gift.
- Intersex: Someone with a disorder of sexual development, usually reproductive, genital or hormonal, whose body can’t be easily categorised as male or female. Their anatomy or chromosomes at birth defy definitions of “female” and “male”.
- LGBTQ: An acronym referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer.
- Multigender/Polygender: Multigender people can identify with and even present as their assigned gender, but they also identify with one or more other genders.
- Transgender: Someone who doesn’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth or the gender binary.
“There’s nothing wrong with being different.” – The Fosters
I am still learning, but I understand that many individuals are fighting for their rights to exist in public spaces. We have all heard about the debates surrounding access to public bathrooms. Well, if trans people can’t access bathroom, then they can’t go to school or work, etc. It’s about basic human rights. It is time to demand full rights for all humans all over the globe.
“I’m just a human being trying to make it in a world that is very rapidly losing its understanding of being human.” – John Trudell
We must continue to struggle so that diversity is always more recognised and represented.