It's easy to categorize people for our own personal comfort, but we must recognize that the spectrum of self-identity is as deep and varied as the ocean of humanity.
It’s human nature for us to want to place people into boxes. While categorizing people may make us more comfortable by helping us feel like we have an understanding of “the other," in reality, these boxes are limiting and destructive.
Gender and sexual orientation are not binary but appear on an unending spectrum. One doesn’t have to be comfortable with how another self identifies but should recognize each individual’s right to do so. One such way to respect other people's self-identity is to educate yourself and make an effort to understand this beautiful spectrum of humanity.
The following definitions are not meant to be concrete, but rather an attempt to provide a general knowledge about sex, gender and orientation in their many forms:
If this is the first time you’ve encountered these terms and feel confused or wishing for more information, be sure to click on the links provided above. Please know that simply by engaging in this reading, you have already taken a positive step toward understanding and respecting others' right to self-define.
This reflection provides a scientific explanation of gender identity, its fluidity and complexity.
This action includes ways to be supportive and life-giving to the full spectrum of gender.
1. Ask others their preferred personal pronoun and make a conscious effort to use it.
2. Speak up for those who are being harassed or belittled.
3. Ask your local library to provide books that reflect positively on people who identify as transgender.
4. Invite someone to educate/speak to your religious or community group.
5. Contact your local homeless shelters to encourage inclusivity of all people they serve.
6. Help make public restrooms a safe place for all.
7. Check to see if your business and community organizations have a trans-inclusive policy. If not, work towards supporting one.
8. - 10. Share the following posts on your social media pages!