By Kathy Custren
An older co-worker, just the other day, remarked about the way our society is changing at such a rapid pace. Perhaps there is no clearer sign that we are in the midst of an age of great transformation than the fact that an increasing number of people are redefining the meanings of both gender and identity.
The very public rise of Caitlyn Jenner as a transgender icon in the media has placed the topic of gender a little more in the forefront. The circus her emergence event created, brings forth a variety of responses, mostly supportive, related to the existence and stigma faced by persons wrestling with gender identity issues, as well as those of women/females in general.
One side of the argument is held by persons we may call hardline-extremists. These maintain that “only” the dichotomy of male and female gender identity roles exist at either side of the sexual spectrum. The two roles consist of well-defined differences that are most usually connected to physical appearances and the ability to contribute toward ‘traditional,’ genetic reproduction.
In the face of the people who insist this is the only (a/k/a, “natural”) way evolution has caused us to be for generations, are the often-ignored members of society who walk the road of life with us who purposefully achieve an identity that belies their physical one. Whether through artfully applied makeup and other appliances, medications, and surgeries, a spectrum of talented people exist who have varying gender identity. The reasons behind these different gender identities are as numerous as the people and circumstances that bring them into being.
This is not a complete list, by any means; yet it helps to be somewhat definitive:
Hopefully, having the definitions to these words helps to enlighten your understanding.
The buzz word in making the headlines these days is, “gender fluidity.” Perhaps using water as an example, tied up with the many feelings and choices that are involved in the mix of gender these days, can help us understand how, for so many people, identifying with gender can be a flowing experience. It goes beyond simply being ‘moody,’ as many of us may understand emotion, however. When it comes to one’s personal identity, the majority of us have managed to stay rather solidly male or female, whether we admit it or not.
The fact that this many “variances” exist between what people have long perceived as “male and female” images and roles in society places us into a chaotic stew where the issue of gender identity is questioned, and rightfully so. Many people have struggled, and continue to struggle, with the deep distinctiveness of what makes us who we are. Some may voice the opinion that it is a shortcoming; that we stop digging just when the subject becomes really interesting; and that we may not be digging deeply enough.
The many who find themselves anywhere in the middle of the two gender extremes not only find it is a good time to assert one’s gender identity, but also follow through with more complete and dramatic changes than ever before. Far from being simply labeled ‘eccentric,’ or some other imaginatively creative label, personal uniqueness is being embraced much more openly and thoroughly. The door is opened to hold genuine conversations about how each of us sees ourselves and even how we feel about things, such as life in general.
Perhaps all this gender identification also comes at a time when our language is likewise in the midst of changing and morphing before our eyes, and at lightning speed. For many English-speakers, there is very little struggle with gender identity when it comes to language, except for the type of pronoun one may choose to use. In other languages, however, gender comes with the territory.
Attributing a word to a particular male/female gender (or to a neutral gender) is a common occurrence in many parts of the world. Discover more at this overview from Wikipedia:
Yes, even English, once upon a time, was a gender-filled means of communication. Perhaps, language users come to understand that having a gender attribute in language may help with some subtle nuance of a word’s energetic meaning? Or, we might discover that gender, when it comes to understanding our fellow beings, does not necessarily have to rely on such an assignment.
The use of gender in language description may be one aspect. The use of gender to assign limitation when it comes to identity—how we see and perceive one another—is surely undergoing a sea of change these days. Should we find it confusing and remain stymied and stuck over it all—unable to move past whatever it is we see?
Or, might we use this as a means to delve just a little deeper in truly energetically sensing our fellow human beings? Maybe we will reach the point of understanding that whatever labels may exist, we are so much more underneath it all? We are all such beautiful darlings, that an open heart will lead the way to honest and natural self-determination…provided we listen with an open heart as well.
This is a monumental step in our evolution, indeed! ~ Namaste ~ Blessings!
About the Author
Kathy Custren, OMTimes Senior Editor, is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include education, elements, nature, humanity's cosmic origins, philosophy, spirituality, and wellness. Connect with her community page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook, and tune in to “What is Going OM?” on OMTimes Radio.