Gender identity is imposed on us the moment we are born. As we develop, some of us feel the identity we were assigned at birth feels “right,” but for some of us it doesn’t. For those it doesn’t feel “right” for, the gender binary can be alienating and exacerbate our feelings of “otherness.” So, what is an alternative to viewing gender in binary terms? The gender spectrum, of course!
If we choose to see gender as a spectrum, rather than a binary system, we can imagine new possibilities for gender…including the possibility of not identifying with a particular gender at all! Now that’s liberating.
You, yes you, are the only person who gets to decide the gender or lack thereof that you identify with. This realization may lead you down a road of identifying as trans, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, gender fluid, or something entirely unique to you! Another beautiful aspect of understanding gender as a spectrum, is it never boxes you in. You may choose to identify as multiple genders in your lifetime as you continue to explore your gender identity. The gender spectrum acknowledges this limitlessness, whereas the gender binary prescribes boundaries.
Those who identify within the scope of the gender binary, cis-gender people, also benefit from understanding the gender spectrum. It allows them to be better allies, partners, friends, colleagues, and family members to those who identify outside the binary. In order to usher in a new culture of understanding gender identity, it requires all people to come to respect the gender spectrum as the way forward.