We all have both masculine and feminine traits within us at all times, to varying degrees and at certain times some will be more prevalent than others. As in Taoist philosophy Yin and Yang may be opposites but they are always present and necessary for health, harmony, and balance and each contains an element of the other uniting them rather than dividing them. What is causing all the harm in our culture is the exclusionary wall we have placed between the two making them not just opposite but antithetical. People feel they do not belong in one or the other because we have falsely restricted our existence to only one of the two and then given one far more privilege than the other.
Our culture has made belonging to one mean you cannot have access to the other and what’s worse, any sign of the other is grounds for disqualification and expulsion from your current status.
Culturally we are entangled in conversations, debates, explorations, and reinventions around issues of sex and gender. At first glance, and under old paradigms, the concepts of male and female may seem simple but they are not. As with aspects of all living things there is variance, diversity, norms, and exceptions. As sentient social animals we have evolved our perceptions of biological sex into the concept of gender making it integral to our sense of identity which further complicates things and also massively raises the stakes.
Whichever layer of this onion we try to peel back we find deeply personal and emotionally charged repercussions. How we perceive ourselves and are perceived by others has enormous impact, positive or negative, on how we experience our lives. Thus our traditionally familiar ways of quantifying ourselves and each other hold intensely important value. Anything which seems to shake or threaten those metrics can cause a sense of visceral terror.
But what of those who don’t fit into the existing traditional paradigms? Whatever the metric there will always be those who don’t fit neatly within it, every bell curve always has its outliers…