Monday, April 17, 2017

Gender Identity, Sexuality and Gender Expression

Sometimes explaining the differences between gender identity, sexual identity and gender expression can get a bit confusing. Simple explanations tend to not show that these attributes are very different and for the most part unrelated. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the definitions are muddy and different things mean different things to different people.

With this in mind what I have attempted to do here is graph out these three attributes for 5 different people. Three theoretical people, myself and my ex wife (she graphed her own plots). The theoretical individuals include people based off of stereotypical traits: straight masculine man, straight feminine female and effeminate gay man. I want to say that I am not picking on people here or attempting to say all people of these type identify this specific way (or this way at all). To the contrary, we all identify very differently and I just plotted generic points that represented these stereotypical images (i.e. stereotypical men see themselves as men, act masculine and are attracted to women).

Anyway, here was my graph when I originally wrote this:

Quick explanation of the graph to avoid confusion:The side by side dots simply mean that those two people fall in the same place on the graph. Also, since gender and sexuality cannot be measured on a linear scale (someone cane be male, female, neither or both) I think the donut shaped graph is appropriate. For instance, an completely asexual identifying person would fall in the white portion of the gender identity graph and most likely dead center on the gender expression one.

Anyway, other then this I hope the graph speaks for itself. The purpose is to demonstrate visually the relationships (or more specifically the lack there of) for these different attributes. Try graphing yourself or another theoretical person. For instance, how do I compare to a masculine lesbian who identifies solidly as a female? How about a masculine gay man or even a feminine bisexual man? Doing this and seeing it visually I think is very helpful in distinguishing just how different everyone really is.

Want to graph yourself? Download a blank chart here


Caroline said...

Prehaps it is me being silly but...

I am a visual person so love a graphic representation so just need conformation that the donut shape is decorative to show the colour and the dot's position on the width like the black and green side by side has no significance. Sorry for being too literal.

Now I am worrying about the ends of the gender spectrum with space for ultra F or M.

BTW I am a boring spot always on the right.

Caroline xxx

Katherine said...

Thanks for the feedback... I added a brief explanation to the post.

Sally Sapphire said...

This is really clever, hon. I like it, and I think it works great as an illustration of the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

There truly is no strict black and white (or blue and pink, for that matter), just an infinite number of variations and combinations.

What I find most interesting, at a glance, is that I would likely plot myself very closely to your wife on all three charts. Quite curious indeed!

Anonymous said...

One problem with the gender identity and attraction parts of the chart is that there appears to not be a way to show weak or medium-strength "both" options, only a strong "both".

Katherine said...

Hmmm... I see what you are talking about... Rather then the donut shape maybe a complete circle could demonstrate you point better.

Jeff said...

I'm a gay man, and I identify as male, and my gender expression is half way between the center and the left.

Anonymous said...

odd, I'm the boring on always on the