Deconstructing the Gender Binary & Identity Complex

For this week’s edition of #TellItTuesday, where we’re discussing all and any thing about the topic of gender, I am take a stab at beginning the process of deconstructing gender binary. I’ll start with a story.

As I’ve discussed before, I often find myself havingconversations that often turn into debates about the element of dignity and respect that is owed to people identifying as Trans, in the way we articulate our thoughts and actions. In this example, my brother and I were discussing a particular person, to which I made a comment about that person’s appearance and upkeep.

My brother followed up my comment by saying, “honestly, no offense, but she looks like a man.” I sat there about 30 seconds, deeply contemplating how to address the too many things wrong with what he had just said.

Keep in mind, his consideration of the all too often used, “no offense” preclude to his statement was in regard to our many previous discussions concerning the problem with saying things just like what he just said. So, as I sat there contemplating, I struggled with summoning a reply that could help him get it.

The key is figuring out how to be an educator, with boundaries for maintaining respect, without building walls of judgement and defensiveness. So here it goes. Here’s my attempt at defining where we start in our attempt to understand the key to moving forward in the human rights issue of recognition and respect of Trans people.

It starts with breaking down, or deconstructing, the mentality of our social structure. In fact, it’s been considered and discussed a time or two before, relative to similar human rights campaigns for race, ethnic, economic, gender and other social justice campaigns. I’ve done much of the conceptual work, in my piece “Things We Rarely Correlate To Male Privilege #2: Cat Calling/ Street Harassment”, where I discuss the connection between the power of male privilege and thepervasiveness of sexual assault, violence against women, the dehumanization of womenandheteronormative oppressions.

In such, I only need people to truly consider how one can unlearn something. If all of your life, your family, community and/ or community taught or pressured you to believe and internalize negative and hateful thoughts against a group of people, how might one outgrow that taught hate and inherent, disrespect. For starters, a person must seek to understand. A person must consider, believe or even comprehend that there is something more or better to be discovered about what one already knows.

Life, in some form or fashion, is telling you to reconsider the way you’re looking at people, places or things and you’re ready to listen. A person must be ready to acknowledge that all people are people, and thus desire within, to understand how to honor, respect and represent the love of all people. This must start with love. If you can start with loving people, and thus honor the desire to display and fortify that love, the next parts will be comprehensible and pretty much easy. it’s important to begin where the hate and teaching began.

Okay, so you love all people and want to know how to show that. Trans people are people. Starting by seeing anyone who identifies as Trans, as a person first and foremost, is the beginning. In deconstructing the gender binary, we must decide to see people as people first, and everything else as subsequent to their humanness.

The key to deconstructing the gender binary and the complex of identity, the struggle with perceptual ized self identity in this society, is to honor and respect one another as individual spirits. We as a people, are not to be consigned to the doom of representing all who share the same shoe size, hometown or last name as us. In such, we cannot be consigned to representing the whole of those who share the same gender identity, sexual orientation, racial, social and/ or economic class as us.


Beginners Definition of Identity

  • Identity Gender Identity
    • Cultural Identity
    • Biological Familial Identity
    • Experiential Familial Identity
  • Self Esteem
    • Love (Inward Bound Reflecting Outward)
    • Confidence
    • Emotional Maturity



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