The most important thing about you is your gender.
Really. Want to know how I know? It's the first thing anyone asked when they found out you were born. Unless there were complications, it's the first thing the doctor told your parents. It's the first label you got in this world. It's why you were no longer an "it."
The doctor told your parents which gender you were and it will be a part of your life forever. You will be checking that gender box on forms for the rest of your life. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of forms. Declaring your gender. It's kind of a big deal.
Is it really the most important thing about you? I don't know. But it is a big deal.
I'm a science girl. For me, the question of whether someone is male or female is usually pretty simple. If they have a penis, they're a boy. If not, they're a girl. Seems pretty simple, huh?
And there was a time when I believed it was that simple. But that was a long time ago.
Even speaking scientifically, it's not always that simple. There are cases when a person has mixed gentalia. Sometimes external male genitals and internal female genitals. Along with other situations, this can get complicated. And I'm not going to lie, when I was pregnant I worried about this. (Because when you are pregnant you worry about everything!) I worried that when my baby was born there would be some question as to gender and I would be faced with incredibly difficult decisions that could affect this small person forever. It wasn't a big worry, it's not common, but it was a possibility that crossed my mind.
I have no idea what I would do in that situation other than pray a lot. I would do a lot of soul searching to try to do what was best for that child. I don't believe people are ever put in the wrong bodies. (But I understand why others disagree with me on this.)
Fortunately, I have been blessed. All of my children have been definitely male or female at birth. I have also been blessed that each of them feels comfortable with their gender and accepts it as correct for them, as far as I know. And I have always felt comfortable being female.
But there is so much more to gender identification. There are parental preferences. There are social prejudices. There are nurturing styles. There are abuse situations. There are hormones in our food. And there are so many societal expectations and definitions of what it means to be male or female.
It's not just about your body and science. It's not just about what parts you have. Part of gender identification is external; part of it is internal.
There is so much more to talk about.
This post is part of an on-going series discussing gender issues. To start at the beginning, go here.