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Catherine Oliver Headshot

Get Ready to Rock: Breaking Down the Gender Binary

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Why does the binary gender system seek to enforce stereotypes? What good can come of forcing people into societal boxes that govern how they should feel, act, dress, and more? Is there ever a good reason for this? Are people just too scared of the unknown to accept anything that goes outside the two checkboxes on a job application or census form? Some parents have tried to raise their kids without gender stereotypes, only to get accused of being hippies at best and downright abusive at worst.

Tell me what's abusive about not shoving your kid into a box that says, "This is how you're supposed to act given your genitalia. You must spend the rest of your life trying to conform to these stereotypes, because society says you should. Have fun." There's nothing even remotely abusive about wanting to spare your child the forced gender socialization that comes with gendered toys, clothes, etc. Ideas like "boys have to be tough!" or "girls wear pink and like flowers!" are still so very prevalent today. The amount of gender-neutral baby clothes is still nowhere near as high as the gendered counterparts, and once your child is older? Forget it. Society will demand that your child not wear clothes of the "opposite sex" and act in a certain way. We are vastly a society based on fear. The unknown, the things that are different and do not conform scare people or make them feel uncomfortable.

I want to make people think. I want to make them question their own ideals about what gender is, about what sexuality is. I want people to understand that your physical sex does not equal what your gender is, that you can be a boy, a girl, a trans man, a trans woman, a boi, a grrl, a riot... anything you want to be. I want to live in a society where we are all embraced rather than shoved into acting and looking the same. I want to be able to walk into a bathroom and not get dirty looks. I want to not be told what I should like in the bedroom because of what's between my legs. I want to cause a revolution, a genderless, nonconforming, trans*-and-everything-in-between rallying cry. I might be alone in this, but I'd like to hope I'm not. In any case, I want people to know who I am. I think that's what everybody wants in the end. How can we all be seen as individuals if we're all forced to act the same from the moment we're born? We can't.

I want to change that. Change it with me! Let's do this thing together, one day at a time.