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How can gender be fluid?

Gender is a what we make it. We, as in our community and cultural ideals. What is gender to you?

Psychologists and sociologists can both attest to this fun fact: Gender is socially created. The way we feel about our own spectrum of masculinity to femininity, the way culture defines these terms, and how much and how we feel each of these characteristics can all be defined on a spectrum.



Defining Gender

Discovering ones gender identity includes a deep dive into four intersecting factors.

Expression, Internal Feeling, Societal Influence, and Sex Assigned at Birth.


To elaborate on the factors, I break it down briefly here. First, expression defines how a person wants to socially show their appearance on the sliding scale from femininity through masculinity, neither or both. Second, their own internal alignment toward societies definitions of womanhood, manhood, neither, or both. Three, their sex assigned at birth- the biological make up, their attitudes toward their body, and how their genes or hormones relate to their underlying desire. Lastly, societal influences toward their sex identification and any struggles with this.

Knowing this, one could see how gender identity could vary from person to person, and not be solely related to their physical anatomy. It is much more than that, and much more fluid.

What it says on your driver’s license isn’t really who you are—you are something much greater than that.

RuPaul

GENDER IDENTITIES

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The traditional categories of male and female are considered limiting as more vocabulary and identity labels are being used to explain gender (Oswalt et al., 2016). Here are some examples of various gender identities. Remember, this list is not exhaustive, and whatever label someone chooses to use to identify themselves is valid, as people discover new ways to explain how they identify.


Agender – does not align with any gender or feels lack of gender
Bigender– identifies as 2 genders
Cisgender – aligns with the gender assigned at birth
Fluid– aligns with many labels for gender identity or sexuality
Gender nonconforming – does not follow social norms for dressing and activities based on their assigned sex at birth
Genderqueer – identifies outside the gender binary but may identify as both or neither, transgender and/or queer
Intersex –identifies sexual anatomy or chromosomal makeup that does not fit with traditional male or female anatomy
Nonbinary– identity does not fit with male or female
Nonlabeling- does not describe their identity with labels
Pangender– identifies with all genders
Questioning- unsure or exploring current identity
Transgender– an overarching label used when their sex assigned at birth does not align with their gender identity
Two-spirit- an umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to label non-conforming gendered persons in their communities
Undecided- not yet aligned with a label
(Oswalt et al., 2016)


Please share and let me know what else you would like to see written and discussed about in the blog!

References

Hyde, J. S. (2017). Gender similarities. APA Handbook of the Psychology of Women: History, Theory, and Battlegrounds (Vol. 1)., 1, 129–143. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000059-007
Hyde, J. S., Bigler, R. S., Joel, D., Tate, C. C., & van Anders, S. M. (2019). The future of sex and gender in psychology: Five challenges to the gender binary. American Psychologist, 74(2), 171–193. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000307

Oswalt, S. B., Evans, S., & Drott, A. (2016). Beyond alphabet soup: helping college health professionals understand sexual fluidity. Journal of American College Health, 64(6), 502–508. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2016.1170688

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Published by L. Sweetman; LGBTQ Coach & Consultant

Mx. Lori Sweetman is director of Include LGBTQ Empowered Life Coaching and Consulting, and an expert and advocate for the LGBTQ community. Lori devotes their life to helping people feel empowered in their gender and sexuality, and thereby confident in living as their authentic self, freely and openly. People who reach out for life coaching with Lori may be feeling disconnected with who they are, confused or overwhelmed with what to do once they've realized their life is not aligned with their relationship, gender, or sexual orientation. People who have gone through coaching with Lori come out feeling happier and more fulfilled, sexually empowered, have improved their relationships and lessened their anxiety. As a non-binary, polyamorous lesbian who came out later in life and is now living openly and freely, Lori can truly connect with their clients and develop the safe space to support them in discovering what it is they want in this one life they get to live. Include LGBTQ is primarily a coaching organization, working with families and individuals to feel empowered in their gender and sexuality, overcome life obstacles, and craft a happy life as their authentic self. Lori will cater to the LGBTQ+ community, and their families. Include LGBTQ works with teens and their parents or adults seeking support reaching their goals and improving their overall happiness. Lori will provides educational workshops, training, and speak on inclusivity and LGBTQ+ topics for podcasts, organizations, and corporate leaders.

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