How often do you hear yourself using gender stereotypes?

Note: Everything you read here is opinion and should not be taken as fact or representative of what the LGBTQQI community believes as a whole. This article is written primarily for cis-gender/straight identifying reader. Those within the LGBTQQI community might find the statements herein obvious and repetitive. If you find anything offensive about my article, feel free to comment below.

Gender Binary Roles

What are gender stereotypes and what is the gender binary? It is the idea that gender roles are composed of or involving only two ways of functioning: as a man or as a woman, masculine or feminine. Because we grew up thinking that boys play with firetrucks and girls play with dolls, many parents find themselves at a loss when their child wants the opposite.
Why do we impose these labels? It is a whole lot easier to categorize people if they behave a certain way, then we can say, “Oh, so and so is gay, I know that because he likes to put on makeup.” We live in a society that needs to organize people into categories, when the reality is that every human being is unique.
I will now break down how the different LGBT sub-minorities are perceived to fit into the gender binary and how they break the mold.

For Gay Men

If a man is gay, then he must be effeminate to the point of acting like a woman and primarily hanging out with girls or other gay men right? Not so, a gay man can range from being flamboyant to “perceivably straight”. What I mean by “perceivably straight” is that he likes typically male activities: hiking, fishing, video games, working out. One might ask, how is it possible that a gay man could like these activities? Everybody is unique and different with their own experiences, worldviews, trajectories, and preferences. Just because a man prefers another man romantically/sexually does not mean he has to femme up, it means that we as a society need to stop trying to figure out who other people are and start listening to what we have to say to each other.

For Lesbian Women

All lesbians are butch, masculine and actually just want to be a guy. If you believe that, then clearly you have not been reading this article. Go back through this article and pick out that I use the word “unique” or “different” a few times. Lesbian/gay women are just like gay men in that they are: A.) human and B.) unique. Did I mention unique? Sorry, just making sure you are paying attention. Just because a woman has a romantic/sexual preference for other women does not mean that they want to be a guy. In fact, most of the gay girls I know loving being girls (more on that in the next paragraph). There’s nothing wrong being a woman, let alone a gay woman who is in touch with being feminine. Ever heard of the term “lipstick lesbian” or “glamour dyke?” (by the way, do not ever call a lesbian a dyke, it is pejorative, or unless they ask for it) Yes, there are in fact gay women who are girly and are interested in other girly girls. There are even butch lesbians who like to be with other butch lesbians. The rule that there has to be the “man” in the gay relationship is an absurd one, and the sooner we get to the point where we stop guessing which one is the “man” the farther along we’ll be as a society.

For Transgender Men

All transgender men are…wait what? There are transgender/transsexual men? Yes, just because you only remember seeing the “Thai tranny” (pejorative) on The Hangover II does not mean that there are people assigned female at birth who identify as male. So, then all trans-men are just super butch lesbians that actually want to be a man? Not exactly, no. Trans-men are just as varied as gay men, lesbian women, and follow their own trajectories just the same. There are trans-men I met who identify as male and take testosterone who still behave in a feminine manner or still like to do makeup.
Wait, if they want to be a boy do they just want to do boy activities? Not really, because people tend to like what they like based upon their experiences, upbringing, and preferences. People are people, stop stereotyping and start seeing people as individuals, not their gender identity or sexual orientation.

For Transgender Women

Trans-women are all effeminate lady-boys from Thailand. Ok, sorry if this is getting old, but it is getting old for me. By now, you can probably guess what I have to say about transgender/transsexual women. I will say it again, they are unique. Just because a person identifies as a trans-woman, does not mean that she wants to be a submissive house wife that we all perceive women to be. That all trans-women are “sissies” growing up without confidence or an ounce of masculinity. There are many trans-women, like myself, who embrace are masculine traits and are proud of them. There’s nothing wrong with being both girly and liking boy activities like martial arts and dirt biking. Even though a trans-woman presented male their entire life, it does not mean that they lied about all the activities they enjoyed. If we stop putting people into nice and tidy categories, maybe we can start embracing people as people.

Conclusion

Human beings are capable of so much, if we stop trying to figure out whether somebody is gay or not, we can accomplish so much more by working together and creating positive change for the future. Who cares if you “totally knew that Ellen Page was gay,” does it really matter? People are not puzzles meant to be figured out and labelled. We each have our own talents/ambitions/drive just like cis-gender/straight people. Good God, what a concept right?
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