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Nothing ‘normal’ about gender norms

Photo Credit: Nataly Serrano

Before we are even born, the first questions asked of a soon-to-be mother is: “Is it a boy or a girl?”

Society relies on the sex of babies to determine their entire lives. While this works for some people, others don’t fit into the dichotomy of ‘boy’ and ‘girl.’ Although plenty of people choose to view it as a myth, there are more than two genders.

There are people who are born intersex, meaning that their genitalia is ambiguous at birth or that their chromosomes aren’t the typical XX and XY. Intersex individuals account for somewhere between 1 to 2 percent of the population, according to

The number may seem small but equates to 740 million people on earth and 30 million intersex people in the United States alone.

Professor Lindsay Briggs recognizes the difficulty of classifying gender and says that people should not be assigned as male or female.

“Even at the most basic, biological level, it’s not black and white,” Briggs said.

Last year, North Carolina’s legislature passed a law that prevents transgender people from using the bathroom matching their gender.

The decision is not only discriminatory but takes away people’s basic right to self-identify. No one should feel uncomfortable while doing something every human on earth has to do.

Transgender people are those with a gender identity different than what was assigned to them at birth. In recent years, the transgender community has received long overdue recognition.

Lavern Cox, for example, is the first trans person of color to have a leading role on TV. Her role in Orange Is The New Black has broken barriers and made her a household name.

Gender is a huge pillar in our society that can create problems when people break the norm. As humans, we want to categorize people and slap labels on them.

Although assigning gender at birth may seem insignificant at the time, it leads to a lifelong struggle for people who don’t identify with that gender. Some people like living outside the boundaries that are set for them and this should be accepted.

Rather than choosing to discriminate against people who are brave enough to share their experiences, society should welcome them.

People aren’t always going to fit into the narrow categories set for them. Society should think about how to make everyone feel comfortable in their own skin, rather than choosing to alienate people who don’t classify themselves as male or female

Katharine Glennon can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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