I think, therefore I harm
Have you ever realized how light gender difference was on a genetic point of view? Your mother and father both shared their genetic with you. Both your mother’s egg and father’s sperm contained the entire genetic of each of your parent. But just one copy of it, where a cell needs a double copy of the genetic to be able to split and reproduce. Your parents genetic mixed to form a new one, which made you who you are.
Among your genetic, one single small gene made you either a man or a woman. Every egg ever produced by women contains the X chromosome, which holds all that is needed to produce a girl, and a fetus initially develops around that chromosome. But then, something changes about half the time. Sperms contain a gene which may carry either an X or Y chromosome. If it’s an X, the resulting baby will remain a girl. If it’s a Y, though, at a later point during the fetus development, it kicks in an the baby turns into a male. The Y chromosome doesn’t contain much information, just the few differences that make a male out of a female. Every human was first a girl.
From a genetic and biological point of view, the difference between a man and a woman is extremely slim. Only the human brain makes such a big deal about genders.
What remains a mystery to me though, is how the X chromosome contains all the information to make a beautiful body, and then the Y chromosome is able to screw it up so much, turning it into a deformed hairy body with a bat hanging head down.
Newborns don’t make a deal of what gender they are. They don’t make a difference if pee wets the front or the bottom. They don’t care neither about their parents gender. Babies love any person that will care for them, though only mommy has good milk.
Parents, however, make a great deal about it. What is it that the doctor announces after the birth, even before performing any medical exam? No sane mother would dress a boy in pink or a girl in blue. We are imposed a gender identity right from birth – even before thanks to ultrasound –, but it will take babies a long time for them to understand and assume that identity.
Babies typically discover their own genitals by the age of eight to ten months. They find out they are either a boy or a girl. During their second year, they begin to understand gender differences and begin identifying themselves and others as either male or female. During their third year, children learn about gender roles. They usually understand and assume their gender identity by the age of four. By that time, girls begin doing more girly activities, such as playing with dolls and pretending to cook dinner. Boys embrace boy activities, playing rough with their brothers and friends, playing with trucks, or getting interest in sports.
Early on during school years, children tend to group with people of their gender, and do activities associated with their gender. Only by the middle of their teenage, when they develop a sexual interest in people of the opposite gender, do they finally begin to group more together, but even then they will spend most time with people of their gender.
One may wonder whether gender identity and the difference in activities between boys and girls are based on social expectations and pressure. In a long-term study where parents were asked to cloth their young children in gender neutral clothes and offer them both boy and girl toys, most boys ended up playing mostly with trucks, while girls chose to take care of their dolls. The difference is biological.
Social pressure exists, obviously. I don’t know of a father who would let his son play with dolls. Children are not let to develop their identity by themselves, they are expected to behave as… expected.
Gender identity however does not always aligns with biological gender. Non conforming children are often treated badly by their peers. Effeminate young boys may be called by terms related to homosexuality, or even be outright rejected by other boys. This phenomenon is usually lessen for girls who act as tommyboys, but they may still feel rejected. This may even put parents into distress, many of them foreseeing their child as homosexual. Fact is, some such children will effectively end up being gay, but certainly not all. On the opposite side of the scale, many homosexuals never showed any visible behavior before they exhibited their sexual preference.
There was never a time in my life when I got confused regarding my gender identity. I always was a boy, and never wore any female cloth, jewelry or makeup. As far as I can remember, I never had any doubt regarding my sexual orientation neither. I showed an interest in girls from an early age and I was a really good doctor.
But I was a non conforming child. During elementary school, I remember I spent more time playing with the girls, doing girly activities. I sure joined soccer, hockey or baseball games with the boys at times, but I was getting bored quickly. I wasn’t very interested in sports or rough activities. The more relax girl activities were more interesting. As a teen, I could not join into a girl group as easily as I would have liked. I wasn’t girly enough to be welcomed in their activities, though they were more interesting to me. I ended up joining mostly intellectual or relax groups of boys. I played chess or shared science knowledge while most guys where exhibiting their virility on the basketball court. My interest into joining groups of girls wasn’t based on sexual interest. Oh, I sure was sexually attracted by some of them, but I was mostly not interested in going any further.
By college, things went a little more natural. The behavioral separation between young men and young women wasn’t as strong. I did join the friendly sport events at occasions, but it was now easier to join a group where I felt at home, even when the members of that group were mostly females.
During college years, I realized one thing. People generally thought I was gay. Some of them brought that up at some point, after they had found I was, in fact, not gay, and once they had knew me for long enough to get comfortable at admitting that. After some of them did, I was the one bringing the subject up during casual conversations with other friends. Though I asked, none ever answered the question as to how they came to think of me as gay.
Of course, I had my theories. Not being very physical or manly, not being interested in sports much, spending much time with girls but yet showing little interest in them. It’s not that I wasn’t interested, I was too shy to exhibit any sign.
Years passed and I learned more about myself. I think of myself as much more feminine than most men. I still have no doubt regarding my gender identity or sexual orientation. I am still an hetero man. I am a computer programer, an aquarist, I lead a team of workers as a living, I can’t get myself to broom my floor more than once a week, or clean the bathroom more than once a month, or wash the dishes on odd days. I mean, I’m a very hetero man. But then… I shoot the traditional bow rather than the choice of hunters, I love cats and gerbils, I have long hair, I painted my kitchen cabinet doors azure. Hell, my blog is azure!! How manly is that? I mean, where do I fit?
Where do you fit?