by Jim Thomas
Recently, we had a Town Hall Meeting where Christina Monkman presented information regarding the Gender Spectrum. There was a lot of information provided, and it generated a lot of questions. Although gender issues have been with us for a long time, the movement to break the chains of a gender-binary culture is relatively new, and with it comes new jargon and concepts that can conflict with one’s own understanding of gender and gender roles.
One result of this movement is that there are several terms floating about, some that mean the same thing as another, others with subtle differences in meaning. This may cause some confusion, so to become better aware of this movement and to better prepare oneself to help in this cause, the language should be mastered. Here is a list of terms I have come across in my research of the gender-nonbinary movement:
Gender Identity = Affirmed Gender = Internal Sense of Gender
Gender Expression = How we present our gender to the world
Biological Sex = The gender assigned at birth (Assigned Gender), based on observed anatomy primarily, but also chromosomes and hormones
Gender Dysphoria = a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.
Gender Blended = is more about comfort than identity
Gender non-conforming = denoting or relating to a person whose behavior or appearance does not conform to prevailing cultural and social expectations about what is appropriate to their gender.
Gender Fluid = of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity is not fixed.
Gender Queer (remains in the middle of the spectrum) = a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.
Gender Variant = a person whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to socially defined male or female gender norms.
This is a starting point, a place where we can begin the discussion. I recommend doing You-Tube searches for gender-nonbinary topics, there are plenty out there. We have an opportunity (and a responsibility) to making our church a safe place for gender-nonbinary folk.