Ever felt like you wanted to understand the gender and sexuality spectrum but didn’t know where to begin? Well, fret no longer. Meet Rainbow the parrot, who has designed just what you need – a primer on what is gender and how it is different from, and relates to, sex and sexuality. From the basic terms to gender identities and sexualities, Rainbow and friends have you covered.
Gender is essentially what a doctor assigns you at birth based on your sexual organs – so that would be ‘male’ or ‘female’. However, this is not the gender that the child may grow up to identify with. And gender is not just limited to the male-female binary. Similarly, sexuality is not just limited to male-female interaction, though that’s what the world would have you believe. People can be attracted to men, women, all genders, experience no sexual attraction at all, and so on.
In this video, you will learn that gender and sexuality exist on a spectrum. And people who do not fall into the man-woman binary are no less human and no less normal.
As Rainbow says, “All of us have to remember that only an individual can decide their gender and sexuality for themselves. Just because you’ve watched a video and have learned some definitions, does not mean you can tell someone else who they are, or what they should do.”
Watch the video to learn more:
Here's the full transcript of the video:
Hello, my name is Rainbow. And this is Gender and Sexuality 101.
When a baby is born, the first question that people ask is – is it a boy or a girl? Except, this baby cannot talk just yet, and therefore – they can't tell us what their gender is.
The thing is – gender is not a binary. Doctors can assign a child male or female based on their body parts, and you can put this baby in a pink frock or a blue shirt... But at the end of the day, the gender assigned at birth may not be the one this baby grows up to identify with.
So what is gender then? And how does it relate to sexuality?
Usually, when children are born, a doctor would look at the sexual organ they have to assign them ‘male’ or ‘female’. Sometimes, a child is born with genitals that don’t fit into what we think of as ‘male’ or ‘female’. These children are ‘intersex’ – and it’s not just genitals that decide whether someone is intersex. Sometimes, children are born with different chromosomes, or have different hormonal balances.
But because we are so rigid as a society about the gender binary, many times, doctors and parents decide to operate on babies to make them ‘conform’ to either male or female gender.
However, this is absolutely wrong.
Such a surgery is unnecessary, and parents and doctors should wait for the child to grow up and decide what they want to do with their bodies. It’s just like surgically attaching a hammer to a child’s hand in the hopes that they will grow up to become Thor.
So children can be assigned male or female when they’re born. And while many people grow up to identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, many others do not.
For instance, my friends Cookie and Doughnut were both assigned female at birth. But while Cookie grew up to identify as a woman – Doughnut grew up to identify as a man. That makes Cookie a ‘cisgender person’, and Doughnut a ‘transgender person’. Specifically, Doughnut is a transgender man – or a trans man.
Pancake, who was assigned male at birth, and identifies as a woman – is a transgender woman. Or simply, a trans woman.
But it’s not necessary that transgender people have to identify as a man or a woman. My friend Pastry here was assigned male at birth – but doesn’t identify as either a man or a woman. They are non-binary. People can also be gender queer, gender fluid, or agender.
Now, gender is not the same thing as sexuality.
Sexuality basically means who you’re attracted to – whether physically, or emotionally.
Doughnut, who is a trans man, is exclusively attracted to women. This makes him ‘heterosexual’ - or straight. Cookie is also attracted only to women. However, since she identifies as a woman herself, this makes her ‘homosexual’ – or lesbian. If a man is attracted to other men, he would be gay. Pancake meanwhile is pansexual – which means she is attracted to people of all genders. People may also identify as bisexual if they are attracted to ‘men’ as well as ‘women’ in the binary sense.
As for myself, I’m asexual. That means I do not feel sexual attraction to anybody.
Some asexual people are also aromantic – as in they do not want romantic relationships or sex. But not all asexual people are aromantic.
However, the thing you need to remember is – all these are just labels at the end of the day.
Gender and sexuality are fluid. Sometimes, people identify with the Q in LGBTQIA+ – Queer or Questioning. This can apply to their gender or to their sexuality or to both. And that doesn’t make them any less ‘normal’ or any less human.
All of us have to remember that only an individual can decide their gender and sexuality for themselves. Just because you’ve watched a video and have learned some definitions, does not mean you can tell someone else who they are, or what they should do.
My 101 is done. But now, it’s upto you to learn more and treat all people with respect. And always remember, that if you have a doubt about what to call someone, or what pronouns to use for them – just ask them and don’t assume.