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What's the Difference Between Sex, Gender, and Gender Expression?

From Audio: What Your Non-Binary Teen Wishes You Knew - An Interview with Rae McDaniel

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station description Do you have a child, teen, or young adult who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual,... read more
Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen
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Duration: 07:22
Founder of The Gender Fck Club, an online coaching community, and Practical Audacity, a gender and sex therapy practice, Rae McDaniel gives an introduction to the language used to describe sex, gender, and gender expression. It's important to understand the differences between the three!
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Founder of The Gender Fck Club an online coaching community, and Practical Audacity, a gender and sex therapy practice, Rae McDaniel gives us a primer to the language used when it comes to sex, gender, and gender expression. It's important to understand the differences between the three, and it basically boils down to respecting the labels people want you to use.
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about language a little bit. I'm wondering if you could kind of go even more specific and talk about what it means to be transgender and non binary and really talk about language around both of those because I think that gets very, I mean I know that it gets confusing and people generally speaking people want to use the right language and they want to be respectful and just don't know. Yeah. And it's such a big topic and we know that language is constantly evolving and changing and especially in the LGBTQ community, it changes so quick that it's really difficult to keep up with. So I'm happy to give a primer. Yes. Yes. So generally what I say, when I'm talking to people about language is asked them to imagine three knobs in front of themselves. So I like to think of it kind of like a space ship or an aircraft. So there's three knobs that all turn independently of each other Knob. # one is assigned sex at birth. So this is exactly what it sounds like. You pop out of the womb and the doctor says it's a boy or it's a girl or that is what we all think of when we think think of a sign sex at birth. But the reality is that the number of people who are assigned intersects at birth or have some sort of difference and sexual development are roughly the amount of people who are redheads. Or to put it another way twice the population of Canada. So this idea that there are two binary biological sexes of male and female, science is not really supporting that. And the more that we learn about the body and we learn about the appearance of the body chromosomes, the endocrine system of the hormonal system, the more that we realize that biology is diverse and that's something that we see in nature as well. So I like to just ground us and that fact because I think that's a really great foundation to build on. Absolutely! Oh, my goodness! I love that. Okay, great visuals. Thank you. Okay, so second knob, first knob is assigned sex at birth. Second knob is gender identity. So gender identity. Is that really deep, innate felt sense of who you are in terms of gender. So maybe you pop out of the womb, and the doctor says it's a girl and you grow up and you say, yeah, I I am a woman that feels right to me. That means that your gender identity is a cis gender woman. So cysts that C. I. S. It's simply a latin prefects. That means on the same side as, so you identify on the same side as what you were assigned at birth. So let's say you pop out of the womb. The doctor says it's a girl and you grow up and you say, uh, that really doesn't feel like it fits for me. I identify as a man that would make you a transgender man trans as a latin prefix. It means on the other side app of so you are assigned female at birth. You grew up and identified on the other side of that as a transgender man. Okay. Yeah. Making sense, totally. Making sense. Great. So I also want to talk about non binary identities, which is how I personally identify. So I and I will use myself as an example. I was assigned female at birth and then I grew up and that felt pretty okay. But not completely right. But I also knew that I didn't identify as a man that did not feel like it resonated with me at all. I identify somewhere very firmly in the middle of those two identities. In the middle of that spectrum of identity, like we were just talking about and for me the term that feels the best is non binary. Other people might call that gender queer or a gender gender fluid. There's a lot of different terms that people use, but they all generally mean that they identify somewhere in between the ends of the spectrum in between male and female. Is that making sense? It is So just to clarify really quickly though, so non binary and gender fluid can be used interchangeably when it comes to labels. I generally not generally, I always want to respect what labels somebody feels really reflects who they are. So non binary and gender fluid gender queer. They all can be used entertain doubly as concepts. However, when someone identifies with a particular label that might mean something very specific to them. That's something like gender fluid doesn't really resonate as well with. So it's really about that personal identification when it comes to labels. Okay, that makes total sense. And that's very, thank you. That's a good that's a good clarification. All right, So we're onto the third knob. Here we go. So first snob assigned sex at birth. Second knob gender identity. Third knob in front of us is gender expression. Gender expression is simply how each of us, whether we are cis gender or whether we are transgender, choose to express that gender to the world. So that may look exactly like how society expects that to look. So if we go to the extreme, we say, hey, someone was assigned female at birth. They identify as a woman and their gender expression is very feminine. Maybe they love wearing dresses. They love makeup. They always have their hair done, they love heals, that's a very feminine expression. But that same person could grow up and say, I hate heels. They're very uncomfortable. I don't want to wear them. I don't like dresses and they might choose to express their gender with wearing pants, suits all the time or wearing clothing that society typically puts in the box of masculine and that's how they choose to express their identity. So all of these knobs are knobs that can turn independently and someone's gender expression may or may not match up with what society expects based on their gender. I.
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