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Biological Sex is a Myth

Gender Identity is not based on your Genitalia

"Female, or Male, that is the (wrong) Question"

This might come as a surprise, but gender identity and sex are not the same thing.

In fact, the term gender identity was coined by psychiatry professor Robert J. Stoller in 1964 and popularized by psychologist John Money.

While sex has been an identifier for humans for as long as we have existed, there is a giant misunderstanding in our society that gender identity can be confirmed at birth based on the genitalia of the newborn.

So, how did we get to a point in our society where we are seemingly divided between progressively adjusting the genders to be inclusive or out right refusing to believe that there is anything past male and female?

Sperm + Egg

When sperm meets with egg, the sex of a new life is determined. Let's go back to conception. There are 46 chromosomes in a baby's genetic material, but only two of them determine sex — one from the sperm and one from the egg. These are referred to as the sex chromosomes. A female embryo is considered a female for the first 6-7 1 12 weeks of development until testosterone production begins. Genital ridges are the somatic precursors of both sexes' gonads. Because of this primordium's bi-potential nature, it is unique in organ development. A single primordium can produce either an ovary or testis.”

This means that every embryo has identically forming genitals until the Y chromosome and production of testosterone begins. If it were not for testosterone all babies would be female.

XX and XY, the two chromosomes that seemingly decide the fate of the genitalia between your legs. However there are tons of variations that can happen and do happen to approximately 2% of the population. This is called intersex.

There are numerous situations in which an individual is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't fit the boxes of "female" or "male." Sometimes doctors perform surgeries on intersex babies and children in order to make their bodies fit binary notions of "male" or "female."

Now we know that the sex of a newborn can differ between XX, XY and intersex. Making sex already more than a binary system. Sex is based on genitalia is still a completely different thing than the gender identity of that person.

How is that possible?

Society Isn't Always Right

Well, sex is based on anatomy and gender is based on society's definition of how someone with a certain genitalia should identify and act. In contrast to gender expression, gender identity is not visible to others, regardless of whether one is a woman, a man, neither, or both.

The reason that our society has only recently begun to shift the terminology around gender identity is because, for a long time in the U.S., it was illegal to be anything else but heterosexual and hetero- presenting.

The populations of transgender, intersex, non-binary, fem/masc-leaning people have always existed, they just had to learn how to hide in plain sight in order to survive.

As social thought and representation expand past traditional boundaries, generations will finally be revealed and silent voices heard.


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