Friday, September 5, 2014

Gender Fluidity, Transgender, and Intersex used in Fiction

Gender Fluidity;

Fluid: “not settled or stable; likely or able to change.”

Gender: “the state of being male or female.”

To go by these terms, gender fluidity is an interchangeable state of being male or female. However, it must be noted that gender and sex are not the same thing. Sex is biological. It is determined by genetics and characterized by physical attributes, an X or Y chromosome, sex hormones, and reproductive organs and genitalia. Gender, however, is psychological. It is the mental state of being male or female without correlation to the individual’s sex. Now that we know this we can determine that the exact definition of Gender Fluidity is when a person’s mental state of being male or female is able to change.

So what’s the difference between a gender fluid person and a transgender person? Transgender people are people who are born with a specific sex, male or female, but identify with a different gender then what their sex usually infers. So even if a transgender person is physically female they may identify their gender as male and take steps in order to change their physical appearance so that it matches their psychological one. A transgender person will generally only identify with one gender.

Intersex, unlike the other two types of sex and gender in this article, is the only one of that is based solely on biology. An individual who is intersex is one who has a variation in sex characteristics that may involve genital ambiguity and/or combinations of chromosomal genotypes other than XY-male and XX-female. For some their phenotype, physical characteristics, may not reflect their intersex genetics.

In fiction, specifically fan fiction, there are various tropes that cover the many topics of gender fluidity, transgender, and intersex, such as trans characters, drag queens, or even the mildly popular boypussy and futanari women tropes. It is also possible to see very real events and feelings brought into fiction through these tropes. Feelings of isolation, depression, and mistrust caused by transphobia and intolerance can be related to though these tropes, but so can acceptance, understanding and celebration can be achieved as well from a reader and writer point of view.

The topics of gender fluidity and transgender are mostly present in the form of colorfully flamboyant drag queens. For those who don’t know, Drag Queens are men who dress as women to the extent where they can transform their masculine features by waxing themselves, putting on make-up, wigs, glamorous dresses, and strapping on high heels in order to make themselves look like women. Drag queens may be the most gender fluid characters I, personally, have ever seen in fiction. They take on the persona of a woman while they are dressed up and they are very much that woman for the duration. The gender fluidity aspect comes from the fact that when these biological men mentally (and somewhat physically) become women, they will identify themselves in the female gender. However the persona that drag queens use while dressed up isn’t always act but a part of who they are. This can be reflected in fiction and having a character be a drag queen is sometimes used as a way of coming out, or for a way for the character to gain confidence in who they are.

I have also seen trans-characters in handful of stories. Though these stories tend to revolve around the character’s transformation or around having their transformation found our/accepted by others. Few people include trans characters for the sake of having them there.

Intersex is often seen in fiction as a fetish. Stories that include futanari women (dick-girls) and boypussy are normally stories about sex (though there are some they delve into the emotional upheaval of being considered ‘different’). Unfortunately, in these stories scientific fact is tends to be left out. (Such as the fact that having two working sets of sexual reproductive organs is a highly improbable occurrence.) Though there are quite a few different genetic mutations that can lead to a person being intersex, the how and why of it is not always focused on in fiction. This can lead to misinformation and misrepresentation. In reality, cultures treat intersex indivtiduals differently; while some may see them as a third sex, others see them as an anomaly that must be fixed.

Fiction is a wonderful place filled with all possibilities, and using it, it is possible to explore and delve into things that lie outside the norm. Gender fluidity, transgender, and intersex peoples are things that can be very difficult to discuss in reality but through fiction can be given a new, sometimes limited, viewpoint.

By gravity-did-it x

via. Genetics Lecture Biol-4340 UTPB (University of Texas Permian Basin)

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