Gender and Sexuality: What's between our ears, legs and sheets.
Updated: Jan 8
Girls who are boys
Who like boys to be girls
Who do boys like they're girls
Who do girls like their boys
It's a little confusing, isn't it? Are gender and sexuality the same thing? They're not, and I'll break it down for you now. Gender is who you go to bed as, and sexual orientation is who you go to bed with. And for a pansexual like me, the world is my oyster.
Did you know we all start as females? You add a little sprinkle of testosterone, and the clitoris becomes the penis and gonads either become ovaries or testes. But it's not always that simple. Some people are born intersex. 1 in 2000, to be exact. That's roughly 5,000,000 intersex people on the planet. “Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. An intersex person's genitals may display as somewhere between male and female, or they may exhibit one sex outwardly but have atypical organs internally.
Many cultures throughout history recognize intersex beings as shamans, witch-doctors, and healers. Native Americans refer to them as "Two-Spirit." Indigenous societies respected two-spirit people for their ability to operate in the roles of men and women. In the 20th-century, Christian influences increased among Native Americans, and respect for same-sex love and androgynous persons declined. Often they were forced to conform to gender standards by missionaries or government officials.
In a modern culture where living intersex is unaccepted, who decides where we draw the line between male and female? Our doctors do, and not always with the same standards. It can often vary, but typically it is decided by the size of the phallus. If the penis were smaller than one inch, they were castrated and reassigned to "girl," and if the clit were larger than one centimeter, they would have a clitorectomy. There are not two sexes like we were raised to believe. There are three: male, female, and intersex.
An individual's genetically or surgically assigned sex does not always line up with their personal experience of their gender or "gender identity." They may see themselves as male, female, neither, gender-fluid, or non-binary, meaning anything other than male/female. We can even see this referenced in Hindu text as far back as 400 BC. Hijras were Indian people who identified as beyond male or female. Many gender identities fall under the non-binary umbrella, such as genderqueer, agender, androgynous, boi, bigender, multigender, or demi gender.
A transgender person is one whose sense of identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex. A person's gender expression will typically align with their gender identity and is presented outwardly through haircuts, clothing, voice, makeup, or other socially defined expressions of the masculine and feminine. Others may decide not to conform at all, and we see this happening more and more in pop culture and fashion with models like Rain Dove and Harnaam Kaur. It's often speculated that David Bowie was bi-gendered. He came out first as gay and then as bisexual. Living in the rule-less arena of Rock and Roll, David Bowie escaped normative gender roles and seamlessly played with his outward expression. And what an erotic expression it was!
"Hi! I'm Chelsa Joy. I identify as a pansexual, cis-woman, and I use the pronouns she/her/hers."
Let's unpack this for a moment. We've learned what intersex and transgender means, but what is cis? Cis-gender says I am in alignment with my genetic sex. I was born with female genitals, and my gender identity and expression match this. While they/them/theirs is most commonly chosen by non-binary folks, there are others used, such as ze/hir/hirs and ze/zir/zirs. It can feel foreign and challenging to navigate pronouns at first. When in doubt, ask, "What pronouns do you use?" If you make a mistake, apologize. In most situations, the effort you’re putting in is appreciated and well-received.
I love boys. I love girls. I love boys who look like girls. I love non-binary folks who look like neither. I am pansexual. I find it to be a pleasure to play with all genitalia. People mistake this for the fact that I'll sleep with anyone. Now, this isn’t true, but what is true is that if I am attracted to a person, all parts are fair game in my world. Pansexual means I'm not limited in sexual choice with regards to biological sex, gender, or gender identity. I used to identify as bisexual, meaning I liked both males and females. As I've come to understand gender, and what a social construct it is with our blue and pink ideals, I've realized there's so much more to loving or even just desiring another human being. As the list of sexual identities grows, I'll continue to educate myself and hope you will as well.
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Your Kinky Kitty,