How Can We Understand Gender Within the Fluidity of Human Nature?
Thinking Queerly: 52-Weeks of Critical Reflections On Liberating Humanity — Week 2
Fighting against gender and sexual fluidity is a fight against nature itself. One has to consider how the control of authenticity and identity has caused more harm to the fabric of society than to the individuals most directly impacted.
Want to start at the beginning? Here is the link to Week 1 of Thinking Queerly.
All Humans Are a Part of Nature
Everything that is born of nature is natural.
There is no right or wrong in nature.
That is the natural order of things. As in nature, gender expression is natural and like water.
Gender and sexuality are fluid like water,
moving around obstacles,
sometimes a trickle like a shallow stream,
other times as powerful as a current as when the tide goes out.
The only way to control water is to contain it.
How we classify, categorize, or describe gender and sexuality is an intellectual construct of dualities —
a container of the intellect.
Fighting against gender and sexual fluidity is a fight against nature itself.
An Invitation to be a Very Impactful Queer
How can we and how do we understand gender? Perhaps the question we need to ask instead is, “What is gender?”, followed by, “What are ways to describe gender?”
Notice I didn’t say, “How can we describe gender?” The difference between ‘what’ and ‘how’ is subtle but an important thought exercise in the understanding of gender as an idea or a concept, and less as a label or a container, in which we might try to drop people into.
The later is what most of society has tried to do for millennia, establishing a codex, written or unwritten, of what is ‘male’ or ‘female’. With this invitation, I am asking you to consider what ways you can use to describe gender.
Here’s a hint: I have used the metaphor of water to describe gender, with the word, ‘fluid’.
Observe any person you would categorize as a ‘man’. What do you know about that man? Are they (another subtlety here: notice I said, ‘they’ and not ‘he’) a cis-male or a trans-male? Both of those terms are descriptions that have become more prevalent in the last few years as we are broadening the discussion and understanding of WHAT gender means. But what are the ways that you used to make that determination?
This is an open-ended exercise instead of one that might be more didactic or structured, simply because when I look out into the natural world and observe the natural order of things, I can only conclude that gender is an idea, a construct of the mind.
Gender is ultimately a performance within the container of society. How gender is performed depends on time (think of presentations of gender in history, literature, film and TV), as well as culturally; with all of the different social mores associated with that group of people.
Even this concluding observation shows how fluid gender is as a concept.
Originally published at https://darrenstehle.com on August 7, 2020.