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With so many people revolutionizing their own pronoun and gender identity, will the constant changes hinder more than they help?
November 21, 2017
8 mins read

Ladies, gentlemen and friends beyond the binary, as I was watching a strange YouTube video of a British talk show, I suddenly noticed someone on the screen who was claiming to be a sexless, genderless alien. They claimed to be going through gender reassignment surgery to remove their genitals completely and live a life as someone who doesn’t even want to be considered a human being. And while this is an extreme, is it becoming the norm?

Back in the days of white picket fences and the burnt crosses on people’s lawns, there were only two genders: boy and girl. In addition, there were only two choices for pronouns, he/him or she/her. Although there were people who felt they were born in the wrong body in these times, the idea of actually expressing it has only come to light in recent years. Under the crippling weight of misogyny and patriarchy lived heteronormativity. It was widely believed that the majority of people in the world were straight, and that anyone who was “other than straight” needed to be fixed. Although little progress has been made today, people are at least aware, some even supportive, of those who are not heterosexual.

People have accepted this newfound freedom as a tool to bring lesser known identities to light. This is no longer a time of gay or straight; in fact, there are so many different sexualities it’s hard to keep them all in order. Those who want to be progressive but come from a simpler time of the binary gender system find themselves struggling with keeping everything together. With sexualities such as gynesexual and demisexual, it is hard to figure out every single identity.

A lot of people understand by now that gender is a social construct and sexuality is on a spectrum, but the question remains: Does everything need a label? Much of the concern with so many of these labels is their generalization into other aspects of life, such as race. Recently, a man has been drawing attention to himself because he believes he is “transracial.” He is a white man that claims to be, or feels that he is, Filipino. In his interview, he used language that, until now, has been almost exclusive to the LGBTQ community, specifically the trans community. Not to say that any of the trans people who are speaking out are at fault, but with so many new labels and not enough progression, these platforms are becoming easy to abuse.

There are certain ways to alleviate this concern. With anything positive, there is bound to be something negative, but it doesn’t mean we only look at the negative side of any changes. Although many more “random” identities that are coming to light hinder the discussion of trans and bisexual people, at the end of the day no one can really judge another person. If what someone is saying or doing doesn’t physically or mentally harm anyone else, they should ultimately be left alone. And although some people may find it difficult and uncomfortable to use “they” and “them” in place of “he” and “she,” or maybe nothing at all, it ultimately should have no effect on that person’s life.

‘If what someone is saying or doing doesn’t physically or mentally harm anyone else, they should ultimately be left alone’ (Image via Swathmore College)

People are moving almost completely away from traditional ideals; there is genderfluidity, pansexuality, intersex and trigender just to name a few. For many people, the idea of being “unique” and using labels to better understand their strange feelings is empowering. Soon the conversation will move from gender and sexuality to species or some other label that the next generations want to dismantle. Pronouns and sexual orientations are just the beginning and attractions to the same sex are just the starting points of human beings’ journey to a better understanding of themselves.

Humans crave a level of extremism, which will eventually come and go. This is not to say that none of this matters—in fact, it is very important—but similar to other problems, educating others before becoming angry is key in constructing a progressive society. There are other countries where none of these labels and tactics in the creation of identity matter. There are industries, such as fashion and make-up, where such matters have already become afterthoughts. So, while everyone is still trying to figure out what is going on, the world is still moving, and it’s going faster than ever.

Ultimately, it’s hard to say if there are too many labels or not. As the great philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said, humans are “condemned to be free.” We, as intelligent beings, simply have too many options and we know that ultimately our happiness is at stake with every decision we make. Humans are in the middle of running away from simple labels and running toward uniqueness and self-expression. This is a time where we have the answer to almost every question being carried around in our pockets. People can say just about anything and there is bound to be at least one person to agree.

The constant evolution of identity will continue on forever, regardless of whether it hinders people more than it helps. Everyone should pay attention to learn to understand different perspectives on the same topic and calmly educate each other. If humans can’t be genderless aliens, can they really do anything? Acceptance is going to be key moving forward. For the human race to be successful, the idea of uniqueness needs to be reexamined. Although we are all unique in our own ways, no one is completely unique. People can just agree to disagree and in the meantime, let’s all enjoy being able to be ourselves.

Brandi Loving, St. Mary's University

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Brandi Loving

St. Mary's University

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