Sex, Lies, and Gender 

When we grow up, were implanted with this idea that gender, sex, and gender roles are all one thing. You have a penis, therefore your body is male, therefore you’re a boy/man, therefore you play with pirate ships and trucks, and you are taught not to cry.  A lot of people never question this, until the day they die. 
I hear this phrase all the time at work – “put that down, that’s for girls.” But I never hear the opposite. Just think about that and let it sink in. It’s okay for a girl to want to be a boy, but not the other way around. Male is the dominant gender in this society. In my mind, that alone  dispels this myth that being a trans girl is really a choice. Why would anyone choose to be seen as less? Ive been asked more than once why I “want to be a girl,” but I don’t want to be a girl. I want to be me. And I am a girl.  
But that’s not my point today. To understand why people are trans, first you need to understand what gender and sex consist of. A lot of people have a lot of ideas, and use different terms to mean different things. So I’ll try to explain as I go. For this piece, sex refers to body – male, female, and intersex. What you were born with, and what hormones puberty bestowed upon you. Some trans people like to say that their body is female/male because they are, and it’s their body, but that disregards an important part of being trans, and not just because of the dysphoria aspect. I’m ignoring chromosomes right now because of all the variations that don’t really factor in right now, as far as we know. 
So that said, biologically, my body/medicine says I’m male. With the female hormones,  my body is now somewhere in between. (see the post on HRT). My brain, however, is not male, and that’s where biology makes me female. Gender is biological, too. Gender and gender expression are different. Gender and gender roles are different, too. Simply put, gender roles are how society expects a man or a woman to behave. Gender expression is how an individual chooses to behave/dress/etc. One can be a woman but still express as a male, or as androgynous. 
But as I said, gender is in the brain. There have been a few smaller studies that found that men’s and women’s brains are indeed different. And that although they’re not identical, a trans man’s brain more closely resembles that of a cis male and a trans woman, female. And though this is still a theory, and few other theories exist to explain it, it’s the one that makes sense to me, and that I chose to prescribe to until more research is done. It explains how I knew that I was a girl, even though I never experienced being a girl. It explains why I was never comfortable my body until it started to look more feminine.  
So there it is. Sex = body. Gender = brain, simply put. When they don’t match, you get transgender people. 
But I’ve said it before. In the end, it doesn’t matter what causes it, and a hundred other people will explain sex and gender a hundred different ways. I am transgender. I am a girl. And I know me…wait for it….better than you know me. So science or no science, I’m going to fight like a grrrl to be who I know I am.
-Natalie 

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