Boy, Girl, Other… Know Your Genders

Boy, Girl, Other… Know Your Genders

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Perhaps my most profound experience of globalization was the first time I fell in love.

His name was Carlos Garcia and he was beautiful. I remember coming in from primary school, tossing my school bag and tuning the DSTV decoder to Nickelodeon to watch the love of my life do his thing on the show “the brothers Garcia”.

As a millennial, I was born into a world well on its way to becoming hyper connected, in ways that generations before us couldn’t even imagine. We not only ate some of the same candies and watched the some of the TV shows our oyinbo counterparts did, we could now connect with them on social media with platforms like Myspace, Facebook, and more recently Instagram among a plethora of others.

The internet has shrunk the world and blurred borders in the most fascinating ways.

Even though millennials around the world share a lot of similarities, like our tech savvy, our love for selfies and our quest for intellectualism (albeit pseudo in a lot of cases lol), Nigerian millennials are different.

Many of us, at least those in my circles are somewhat conservative, unsullied by some “western” ideals. On matters like same sex relationships, gender equality, etc. we are perhaps a lot less hostile than the generation preceding us, the intermingling of ideas and world views we have experienced, gives us a more diverse palette as it were, to be open to new ideas and world views not necessarily popular in our part of the world.  For the most part however, we are still somewhat conservative compared to our oyinbo counterparts.

Which brings me to the point of this article, do you accept or reject the gender binary?

You’re probably thinking “which one is this again? Lol

Well if you’re like me and suffer from a need to considered “woke” literally all the time (I’m working on my narcissism) you might want to get a bit acquainted with this topic.

What is the gender binary? And more importantly, why do some people reject it?

The gender binary is the scientific classification of the male and female human based on their chromosomal make up – XX chromosome present in males and the XY chromosome in the female. Most human beings fall in either category, save for .9 percent of the world’s population.  Such cases are considered aberrations of nature, or at least that’s what I was taught in biology class.

It would appear my secondary school biology teacher, whose name eludes me, was terribly wrong. Bless her heart.

An interesting, relatively new theory called the gender schema theory, obliterates what we have come to accept as the norm and posits that one’s chromosomal make up, genitals and reproductive abilities do not determine one’s gender.

I find this particularly interesting because, in my opinion it strikes me as an incoherent theory. It suggests that gender cannot be strictly divided into two groups, that the binary is society’s construct, born out of the human need to classify things in order to better understand them. The correct approach to matters concerning human gender therefore, would be to consider a much broader classification – a spectrum.

The spectrum has male and female on either end, with a broad range of genders in between.

Human genders include but are not limited to the following.

  1. Transgender: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.
  2. Cisgender: Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.
  3. Androgynous: Having the physical attributes of male and female
  4. Gender fluid: A person who is gender fluid prefers to remain flexible about their gender identity, rather than committing to a single gender. They may fluctuate between genders or express multiple genders at the same time.

Perhaps my bias is showing and I’m not nearly as educated as I should be on this very sensitive topic. By all means share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Credit: Tobi Akhanamoya

Author Bio

Tobi Akhanamoya is your typical millennial. She loves selfies, has an occasional penchant for punctuating with cuss words and wants to “change the world”.

She works as a corporate communications officer at MTN Nigeria by day and by night? Well….you’ll find her asleep on her comfy bed and fluffy pillow after a long hard day of stirring up controversy.

Instagram : @Osione_Akhanamoya

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