Are Gender & Sexuality the same thing?
Often questions like, "Are Gender and Sexuality the same thing?", " What is the difference between Sex and Sexuality?", put us at crossroads. And then, we come up with a lot of questions about Gender, Sexuality, etc.
Moreover, important terms like Gender and Sexuality, Gender Inclusivity keep evolving. And, if proper awareness and education aren't available about such normally important things, confusions are likely to occur!
No more confusion from now, because this article will provide you with all the information that will help you to be aware as well as more respectful.
There are 7.9 billion+ people on earth, with different Gender and Sexuality. Don't forget that you and I are also among them.
We are all individuals who function with our unique mechanisms.
The silver lining is, "We are all unique and different, and this difference makes the world more beautiful."
So keep reading and make yourself more aware of our beautifully diverse society.
What is the difference between sex and sexuality?
“Sex” is the term we use to refer to a person’s sexual anatomy(someone's sexual body parts). Sex is about the sex chromosomes that decide individual's Sex, for example, a person can be male, female, or intersex.
Whereas, Sexuality stands for an individual's sexual (romantic) feelings for another individual for example the person can be bisexual, pansexual, lesbian, etc.
So next time, use these words correctly!
Who is intersex?
Intersex is an umbrella term for various conditions in which a person is born with sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female externally, but having mostly male-typical genetics on the inside.
Are Gender and Sexuality the same thing?
Well, Gender a.k.a Gender Identity is an individual's internal identity which may not be given to them at birth, for example, trans women were assigned male sex at birth but are a woman. Their Gender Identity is female.
(Please note, a person can have more than one Gender Identity, they are known as Pangender.)
On the other hand, sexuality or sexual orientation, as mentioned earlier, is concerned with your sexual feelings, thoughts, attractions, and your behavior towards others. Now, for example, if a person experiences little or no sexual attraction or maybe doesn't feel the need to act out that attraction sexually, the person is classified as Asexual.
So, next time be aware while answering "Are Gender and Sexuality the same thing?".
What is it called when you don't care about your gender?
Generally, such people are called Gender Non-Conforming. It refers to people who do not follow other people’s ideas or stereotypes about how they should look or act because of the female or male sex they were assigned at birth.
How many genders are there?
There are more than two genders, even though in our society the genders that are most recognised are male and female (called the Gender Binary) and usually are based on someone’s anatomy (the genitals they were born with).
However, there are more than 60 gender identities in our society, for example
- Agender: Someone who doesn’t identify with the idea or experience of having a gender.
- Demi gender: This umbrella term typically includes nonbinary gender identities and uses the prefix “Demi-” to indicate the experience of having a partial identification or connection to a particular gender.
There are various other gender identities and we should be respect them just like males and females.
What does transgender mean?
Transgender is an umbrella term, meaning someone whose Gender Identity differs from what was at birth. There are a lot of different terms transgender people use to describe themselves, for example:
Trans binary persons(Trans men, Trans Women), Non-binary persons like Agenders, Pangender, Genderqueer, Gender fluid, Demigenders, etc.
Who was the first transgender?
George Jorgensen, a quiet New Yorker, shocked a nation by returning from a trip to Denmark transformed into the glamorous Christine. In her autobiography, Jorgensen says that, while she was still living as George, despite being attracted to men she felt physically sick when a man seduced her.
What is the difference between Gender Binary & Non-Binary?
“Non-binary” is one term people use to describe Genders that don’t fall into one of these two categories, male or female, whereas "binary" is a term describing male or female as binary literally means two.
Trans women: they are the women who were AMAB (assigned male at birth)
Trans men: they are men who were AFAB(assigned female at birth).
Who is a Genderqueer? How is it different from being Genderfluid?
Genderqueer is an umbrella term to describe someone whose Gender Identity doesn’t fit within socially constructed norms, whether that’s in terms of their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, or presentation, They are Individuals who identify as neither male nor female (but as another gender), as somewhere in between or beyond Genders, or as a combination of genders.
On the other hand, those who are Genderfluid have a Gender that is not fixed, and their Gender Identity may shift over long or short periods. Some people might identify strongly with a particular gender one day, and another gender the next. It all depends on how they’re feeling at the moment.
What is the difference between Pangender and Pansexual?
Pangender is a Non-Binary Gender Identity, referring to people who experience all gender identities, either simultaneously or over time.
On the other hand, Pansexual is a Sexual Orientation that means someone who issexually attracted to people of any or all genders.
Well don't confuse yourself between Gender and Sexuality, let's know more about sexuality or sexual orientation.
What is the meaning of Straight or Heterosexual?
People who are Heterosexual, are romantically and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex: Heterosexual males are attracted to females, and heterosexual females are attracted to males. Heterosexuals are sometimes called "straight."
Who are Homosexuals?
Homosexuality refers to the attraction between people who are of the same sex. It comes from the Greek word homos, meaning “the same”, for example, men who are attracted by other men are known as Gay, while a woman who is attracted to another woman is known as a lesbian.
Know more about the lgbtqia+ community.
Queer or Questioning
Over the past decade, LGBT people have gained more and more tolerance and acceptance in India, especially in large cities. However, their coming out is still not easy because of the fear of discrimination, marginalization accompanied by bullying. A report by UNESDOC Digital library boldly illustrates the plight of the LGBTQ+ community in the schools of Tamil Nadu.
What challenges lgbtq+ community goes through?
In the present times, there might be an increased awareness and acceptance regarding the LGBTQ community and their rights among the Indian youth in urban areas. However, India’s rural population accounts for 833.1 million people, which is a huge number.
- Most of the time, families of rural India prove to be extremely brutal towards the LGBTQ+ Community. Some of these cruelties are Honor Killing, Rapes, etc. It leaves the LGBTQ+ individual with no option other than running away or hiding their true identity.
- Discrimination in day-to-day lives, in workspaces, makes it difficult for LGBTQ+ individuals to live their lives with the dignity they deserve for being humans. The discrimination affects their ability to fully enjoy their civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights and also deprives them mentally.
- LGBTQ+ individuals are at great risk for poor mental health across developmental stages. Various research evidence has shown high rates of major depression, anxiety, mental abuse, and suicides.
- Due to loneliness LGBTQ+ people become drug addicts and turn toward alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Lack of communication and misunderstandings, low awareness in the society about the LGBTQ+ community turns out to be harsh and demotivating for LGBTQ individuals. It creates a feeling of alienation in the LGBTQ community.
LGBT rights; Indian Government's stance on Gender and Sexuality
- Article 14 and 15 of our Indian Constitution, prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
- Under article 20, the Indian constitution safeguards the right to life and personal liberty of every individual. Therefore an individual's privacy and right to live with dignity should not be put at risk in any situation.
- In April 2014, the Supreme Court of India ruled in NALSA vs Union of India that the rights and freedoms of transgender people in India were protected under the Constitution.
- In September 2018, the Supreme Court also decriminalized adult consensual same-sex relationships in the Section 377 judgment review. These judgments are a landmark in their expansive reading of constitutional rights and in empowering LGBT persons.
“I was not ladylike, nor I was manly, I was something else altogether. There were so many different ways to be beautiful.”- Michael Cunningham
We celebrate Pride Month each year in June. It encourages self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders as a social group. It's about people coming together in love and friendship.
Why is June Pride Month?
The LGBTQ+ Pride Month lies in June, concerning the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.
On 28th June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay club in New York City. During this time, people of “different” Gender and sexuality (especially drag queens) socialize in such gay bars to prevent public embarrassment.
However, the police raid gave rise to the voices against the injustice, the Stonewall Riots, a.k.a the Stonewall Uprising. The movement gained momentum because of brave souls like Marsha P. Johnson, an American gay liberation activist, and a self-identified drag queen.
Who is a Drag Queen?
In simple words, a person(usually males) wears exaggerated female attire and entertains masses through small skits or other stage performances. RuPaul, born in 1960 is one of the most popular drag queens in the world. However, the Drag Culture isn’t something new to India. Earlier, when women did not perform on stage, men dress like women and play the female part. Moreover, the Drag Culture has been there in numerous Bollywood movies, for example, Half Ticket(1962) where legendary actor Kishore Kumar dressed as a gypsy woman.
The New Pride Flag! Celebrate different Gender and Sexuality with The Progress Flag
In 1978, Gilbert Baker, an American gay rights activist, designed the rainbow flag as a symbol of LGBTQ Pride. However, over time as the LGBTQ community grew, a strong need of strengthening all the identities came up. Therefore, to maintain the sanctity of inclusiveness and progression, the LGBTQIA+ identifies The Progress Flag as their new symbol of Pride.
The Progress Flag featuring the new addition of brown, black, pink, baby blue, and white stripes has been officially accepted as the New Pride Flag. Different colors in the Pride Flag represent different symbolic meanings. Let’s have a look:
Red represents life, it also represents a sense of passion in your veins.
Orange signifies healing, it vindicates light-heartedness, fun, and celebrations.
Yellow obviously stands for sunlight, bright ideas, and thoughts.
Green is for Nature, symbolizing perpetual growth and prosperity.
Blue is a color radiating calm and serene vibes.
The color Black and brown tells us about respecting our racial diversity among people.
#blacklivesmatter was a popular movement in this regard.
Baby Blue and Pink are for the boys and girls who are transitioning, respectively.
White color represents the intersex or those who identify outside the gender binary.
The New Pride was designed by Daniel Quasar in 2018. The Progress Flag incorporates intersex people into the LGBTQ+ movement. It was led by Valentino Vecchietti.
When and in which city did the first LGBT Pride march happen in India?
Kolkata's pride march in 1999 was India’s first pride march, organized on 2 July 1999. This walk was The Friendship Walk. It began with hardly fifteen participants. People of different gender and sexuality came from cities including Mumbai and Bangalore.
People of different Gender and Sexuality who equally inspire us, every day!
“Be the change you want to see in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi
Some brave hearts actually do it, and work to make this world more inclusive.
Some of those unflinching minds are:
- Navtej Singh Johar: The first Sikh to take up Bharatnatyam as a dance form. In June 2016, Johar and five others from the LGBT community filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India challenging Section 377 of the IPC. And the landmark decision is unknown to none.
- Gauri Sawant: The first transgender individual to file a petition with the Supreme Court of India for the adoption rights of transgender individuals, in 2014.
- Dutee Chand: An Indian professional sprinter. After Dutee declared her homosexual sexuality, she is India’s First and Only Open Gay Athlete.
- Vikram Seth: An extremely famous novelist and poet, brings awareness about different sexualities through his writings. Vikram identifies as a bisexual.
- Lakshmi Narayan Tripathi: A transgender/hijra rights activist, Bollywood actress, Bharatnatyam Dancer and Choreographer as well as a motivational speaker.
The young generation also has a lot of inspiring influencers and growing activists from different Gender and Sexuality. Some of them are:
So, when will you start to bring a change?
Who is an ally?
An Ally works to end oppression by extending support and advocating for people who are and treated unfairly. For the LGBT community, an ally is someone who stands up for their rights and treats them as equals.
How can I get society to be more open-minded about LGBTQ people?
There are various ways in which you can extend a hand for a more inclusive world, for example-
- Firstly, be respectful and accepting, and then start by educating as many people as possible.
- Be a good listener, and be open to conversations and new concepts.
- Don’t assume other's gender and sexuality by their external looks.
- Use gender-neutral or gender preferred pronouns to refer to people.
- Oppose prejudices, stereotypes, with strong and valid arguments to convince the other individual to be more accepting.
- Fight back against any sort of discrimination on the lgbtq+ community. You can also use social media to raise your voice.