The Gender Spectrum. Go Play.

I’m starting with the gender spectrum because it’s been a while since I put pen to paper (keys to document?) and as a topic, like the spectrum itself, it is broad. This is just a personal viewpoint. It is experienced very differently by different individuals. Please excuse any rambling and the grammar, well just in general.
Some people believe the gender spectrum does not exist; that we have just two categories with no sub sections, no fluidity and no in-between. Simply, male or female. I have absolutely no problem with this, none at all, because it is ok for people to think differently and have their own viewpoints, just don’t be an asshole about it.
Gender is experienced differently by individuals.
Firstly, I would like to breakdown this myth: ‘gender and sex are the same, right?’ absolutely fucking not. Sorry, what I meant was, no not really.
Sex: ‘Refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women’[1]
Gender: ‘Refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women’ [1]
What is the Gender Spectrum? (I am so glad you asked)
The gender spectrum introduces a grey area. It is a linear model, described as ‘ranging from 100% man to 100% woman, with various states of androgyny in-between’ [2].
When gender is ‘played with’ in the arts world within fashion or music, it is viewed as expression, as being artistic and pushing boundaries. Unfortunately this does not transcend into everyday life. Prime Example: catwalks. Google – Fashion Week, it’s awesome. Perhaps search after reading this otherwise you’ll never come back.
The catwalk plays with gender beautifully and nobody looks twice. Okay not quite, people stare but not due to a male model dressed in a long skirt or a women wearing a classic tailored suit. No. People stare simply because it is stunning. It flows perfectly, natural beauty, fashion is itself an art. This is almost alien outside of creative subjects.  Our brains are taught from the moment we are born to recognize and define gender, it is second nature. When this is challenged, our subconscious goes into overdrive. Relax, don’t panic. You know how you like dogs before you know their gender? Never really thought about it huh? interesting.
In London gender plays heavier roles in certain areas.  For example in Soho (please, try to act a little surprised), you can be anywhere on the gender spectrum and you are pretty unmemorable simply because it is ‘normal’ or not a big deal.  I imagine this is how cisgendered individuals feel on a daily level, but isn’t this how everyone should feel?
Cisgender: ‘when a person’s biological sex is the same as their gender identity and expression’
Why am I writing this? Well very simply: Toilets.
Because, pretty much every time I use a gendered bathroom, at some point I get mistaken  for a boy.  Literally. I don’t even mind, 90% of the time it is an honest non-judgmental mistake.  I am content with being ‘female’, but I am not horrified as being thought of as ‘male’ (men can be pretty rad as it goes). What makes me uncomfortable is the when someone realizes they have made a mistake and is so evidently uncomfortable. Why? My biological sex is not important, it is not your concern, really it has no impact on your life. Since when did a haircut choice make someone dangerous?  I just need to pee, which is a universal human function.
I once had a customer ask why the casual dining restaurant I worked in previously did not have gender neutral toilets, also known as ‘Toilets’ (THE HORROR), and you know what, I couldn’t answer, there was no good reason. There were six toilets in the ladies, whilst the mens had two, bad luck fellas, but the worst thing? The signs weren’t overly clear, which just made people more awkward and pause hesitantly at the top of the steps, looking left and right. (If you’re looking to follow my lead, it may not workout) Bright side, you have a 50/50 chance of being right.
  Toilets are the bane of going out and I’m sure I am not alone in this, I avoid certain places just to avoid awkwardness. My drink choices have actually been influenced by my 16oz bladder. Long Drink, Tom Collins?  Bitch please, I have 5 hours of drinking, hit me up with some half pints infact best make it a 1/3 pint. Yes, you should smile, because it is stupid, ridiculous and quite frankly dehydrating. I’ve had the whole, aggressive ‘aren’t these the fucking girls toilets’  & ‘why is there a boy in here’ in clubs and it got old really quick.
BUT to all the people who just move past it, do a little embarrassed giggle, go “my bad” or the best one yet “fair fucking play to you” thank you. They make me smile.
Gender should not be a taboo topic; it should be interesting and explorative.  You don’t have to go full on drag. However, please feel free,  I’m just saying – open your mind – wear something because you like it, not because it is suitable according to society. If you feel masculine some days and feminine on others THAT IS OK. It is not weird or fucked up. Dress for the day. You do not have to pick a gender and stick to it. Grow your hair to the floor or go full on skin head, it makes no difference if you’re a guy, girl or anywhere in between because confidence looks great on anyone. Go Play.
When looking up definitions and reading for this, I found a lot of viewpoints that fired shots at people who were on the gender spectrum,. There seems to be a view that non-binary individuals or people who don’t conform to ‘male or female’  hate on the ‘norm’ in this case ‘cis-gendered’. I would like to say from me personally and like-minded people, I know this is genuinely, generally not the case. You can live any which way you wish. Let’s stop trashing each other on the web, especially urban dictionary because yeah, just nah.
I’ve kept this short, but would love to expand on aspects in the future. Let me know your thoughts.
 [1] World Health Organization [2]

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