Social Exclusionn the best of all worlds, these gender categories wouldn't have a lot of significance. (Except for transitioning, see below.) Unfortunately current society is obsessed with determining who's "normal" and who's "abnormal"--who's a "Real Man" or "Real Woman" and who's a "gender variant"--who "conforms" to gender and who doesn't. It's done by drawing a vertical line somewhere on the gender graph. (Say, 75% Male Traits as shown on the graph above.) Everybody to the left of the line is officially "Normal" while everyone on the right of the line is a "Gender Variant" or a "Gender Non-conformer". …76% Male? No problem! You can get a job, have a family and live a normal life! …74% Male? That's BAD! You have a mental disorder. No job; no family. Society has undertaken a great project to shift penis-owners to the left on the graph--turn that 74% into a 76%. (Vagina-owners must move to the right.) The tools for making the shift include psychotherapy, harassment and violence. Alas, it's not possible to change a person's gender--the only result from the attempt is a great deal of human misery. How much misery is proportionate to how far to the right a penis-owner might be, or how far to the left a vagina-owner might be. People with enough androgyny to endure significant harassment comprise about 10-15% of the general population. Transitioning On the graph, medical transitioning means jumping from the blue line to the red line or vice-versa--exchanging a penis for a vagina. Note that female transsexuals (the small blue bump on the right) have the same gender distribution as "classic females" (the large red bump above). Making the jump should theoretically move a transsexual from the harassment zone to the acceptance zone."Not fair!" Proclaim the religious and psychiatric leadership. Obstacles have been constructed to prevent transsexuals from making the jump. Note that the farther to the left or right a transsexual is, the greater the benefit from transitioning. Androgynous people in the middle don't benefit from jumping from line to line. In particular, they don't escape the harassment zone. most people with a penis have mostly male personality traits (the large blue bump on the left) but a few have mostly female traits (the small blue bump on the right).
© Cassandra Branch, MD
and Who's Where?
For convenience, certain areas of the gender graph have been labeled to identify groups that have similar attributes, similar needs, and similar challenges. The two big bumps are the "females" and "males" that make up the Gender Binary. Gender is sort of consistent with biology in about 2/3rds of the general population.
Androgynous people show up at the X in the middle of the graph. They have an equal mixture of female & male personality traits. However, androgynous biology doesn't make much difference. The gender (personality) traits are basically the same whether the person has a penis or a vagina (illustrated by the crossing of the red & blue lines.)
Finally, transsexuals are indicated by the small bumps on the left and right. Note that a transsexual female has the same range of personality traits (gender) as other females. The only difference is biology (blue vs red lines). The same is true for transmen.
Transitioning includes a change in biology -- the gender, of course, stays the same. Transitioning allows a person on the blue line to jump to the red line -- so a transsexual female can be with the other women on the graph. (Transmen jump from the red line to the blue line, adding to other men.)
Note that these categories are only generalities. For example, there's no definite point that separates a "man" from an "androgynous person". Any statement about "androgynous people" would certainly apply in the middle of the androgynous area (at the X), and less so toward the boundaries between groups.
The key concept is that gender (personality) is a spectrum. It's commonly assumed that humanity is divided into two categories: 2 billion male clones, all alike -- They think alike, they behave the same, and they all have the same interests: trucks, football, beer and pizza. Likewise, there are 2 billion identical female clones, who look, think and act exactly the same. This is known as the Gender Binary.
Of course, that Binary image is ridiculous. Everyone has a unique personality -- unique interests, perspectives, talents, etc. That is, Gender is a spectrum.
Research has identified 5 core gender-specific personality traits. If any random group of, say, 1000 people is assessed for those five traits, you get a graph like the one shown above.
-- A person with all 5 male traits would plot out on the far left of the graph.
-- A person with all 5 female traits would plot out on the far right of the graph.
-- A person with a mixture of male & female traits would plot out somewhere in between, depending on the exact ratio of male to female traits.
Sexual Biology is added next. The blue line represents only the people who have a penis, while the red line shows those who have a vagina. Note that:
-- Most people with a vagina have mostly female traits (the red bump on the right)
-- While about 1/3 of vagina-people have an even blend of male & female traits (the red slope in the middle)
-- And a few vagina-owners have mostly male personality traits (the small red bump on the left)
The same results apply to people with a penis:
-- Most people with a penis have mostly male traits (the blue bump on the left)
-- About 1/3 of penis-people have an even blend of male & female traits (the blue slope in the middle)
-- And a few penis-owners have mostly female personality traits (the small blue bump on the right)
The New Gender Paradigm