Deconstructing Gender, Sex, and the Binary
How do Sex and Gender Relate?
As we stated earlier, people are generally assigned "male" or "female", depending on the sex characteristics that are apparent at birth. Gender identities, on the other hand, can lie anywhere on the gender spectrum. When a person's assigned sex at birth matches their gender identity, they are known as cis gender. On the other hand, when there is a mismatch between a person's gender identity and their sex assigned at birth, they are transgender. For example, if someone assigned female at birth identifies as a man, they would be transgender (or specifically, a transgender man). In the same way, if someone assigned male at birth identifies as a woman, they are a transgender woman.
Some people's gender identities do not neatly fall anywhere on the gender spectrum - sometimes they fall in many places at once, or jump around from time to time, or fall outside the spectrum. The umbrella term for people with these gender identities is "non-binary". Non-binary still falls within the transgender umbrella, since their gender identity doesn't match their sex assigned at birth.
Regardless of people's sex or gender, it is important to respect them and to be sensitive of their needs and experiences. One of the easiest ways we can do that is to respect their pronouns and their identity. Understanding the differences between sex and gender, as well as the nature of both allows us to gain a deeper understanding of our lives, and the human experience as a whole. We now know that neither sex nor gender exists in a binary, and hopefully today we finish reading this article a little wiser. No matter where you lie on the gender spectrum, remember, it's whats on the inside that counts!