Were we gender neutral before the labels of “Male”, “Female”, “Straight”, “LGBT”?

Sexuality is a term that encompass many areas, and we hope to explore this interesting topic in the segment: SEX-uality.

Definition of Sexuality (Sexuality Resource Centre for Parents)

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***There have been many studies and debate on whether sexual orientation is genetically-driven or a lifestyle choice. The post I’m writing today is an opinion piece of my perspective towards the matter, which does not take into account the scientific studies, psychological theories, religious values, or common beliefs by humans towards this topic of Sexual Orientation.

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Mainstream Structure and Norms

Mainstream gender roles and orientation act as  basic structures to differentiate between a human with a penis, and a human with a vagina, and to continue the cycle of reproduction for the human race to carry on. Our ingrained societal gender roles, family culture and beliefs, social networks and communities, the level of openness our society has towards specific gender identities are what slowly shapes us, and builds up our perceived identity as we grow up. Pressures from our environment e.g. faith, family perceptions, societal norms – to conform naturally shapes us to be consciously straight or act according to a certain gender’s characteristics as we grow up.

Gender Neutral

Though some of us might be genetically born straight, homosexual, transgender etc. and are not in any ways influenced by these external influences, I believe some of us could also be born gender neutral – which means we are born without the conscious concept of what it means to be a male or female, or to like a male or female. Hence, some of us could actually be more opened to the concept of not needing to strongly align ourselves to any specific gender, orientation, role e.g. Masculinity versus femininity, as well as being less apprehensive in regards to exploring and experimenting with their sexuality if not for societal labels, structures and norms.

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Is Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity fluid?

Some individuals feel different from their assigned gender identity, role, or orientation either from a very young age, during their growing up years, or even at adulthood. E.g. feeling like they are in a wrong body, prefer to dress up and behave in the characteristics of a certain gender, or liking the sex they did not used to. So yes, I think it can evolve over time, or even be fluid throughout our lifetime. Some of us experience a natural change due to our life experiences e.g. traumatic incident, devastating break up with a certain gender, sudden attraction to a new person, societal or family pressure, sexual experimentation, higher exposure to communities with diverse orientation or gender identities.

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Societal influences 

Gender norms. Females are supposed to eat and talk in a certain manner, females are discouraged from playing certain sports because they are too rough, females should never not laugh loudly, females are less capable than boys. Guys should always earn more than their wives, Guys should not on join girl-dominated occupations, guys are not supposed to wear dress or skirts (even though it is a norm in some cultures), guys crying in public are taboo.

In Thailand, Katheoys (transgender women) are a national culture well-known to the world. If I was a male born in Thailand, I would more likely come up out of a closet as a transgender compared to a transgender in Singapore. A lesbian in Singapore would also a higher chance of being more opened about her identity as compared to a  Singaporean guy coming out of the closet as a gay.

In Singapore, lesbian couples holding hands are very common on the streets. Lesbians are more accepted by our society compared to gays because of the e.g. prominence of lesbian pornography which makes girls making out look “hot”, biased societal attitudes that males together are “disgusting”, but girls together make a cute pairing.

In single-gender schools, gay relationships are taboo due to this gender inequality in perceptions towards homosexuals. They will most likely end up being mocked or ostracised. Hence, the chances of seeing 2 males openly holding hands in public are extremely few and rare. Even in normal social situations – girls can openly compliment both girls and guys without being perceived otherwise, but when a straight guy does the same to another guy, he may be perceived as being effeminate, or it might not be a norm.

Gays and lesbians individuals might be more opened to come out in a western society compared to, if they came from an Asian society.

In general, if I hung out with peers or families who are more accepting towards the LGBT community, I think the likelihood is that I would be more opened to experiment more with my sexuality.

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Gender and Orientation Diversity

Society divided us into 2 genders based on the reproductive system but gender identity and attraction can encompass more than the 2 rigid gender structures – male and female, vagina and penis. Some humans are born with 2 of the sexual reproductions. We place a label on them – hermaphrodite, but what gender role or orientation are they suppose to take on then? What gender would be considered “normal” for them to be attracted to?

In this world, some individuals may feel more aligned with a specific gender or orientation regardless if it is aligns, or if it defies mainstream society. Having a higher exposure to communities of diverse orientations and identities could also possibly influence a straight person to turn otherwise, and vice versa. But in reality, we can actually be anything we want to be. We can dress, talk and act in ways we feel most comfortable with regardless of gender roles. And it is possible for us to be attracted to any kind of human or thing.

Without considering the essence of mainstream or popular gender and orientation attitudes e.g. Straight, LGBT, we can actually be orientation and gender diverse:

  1. We can identify ourselves as anything we feel most comfortable with in regards to labels placed on gender, role, dressing, or physical and behavioural characteristics
  2. We can also not identify with not any kind of label
  3. We can – not have a desire or be attracted to anyone or anything
  4. We can also be attracted to any kind and any amount of individuals, regardless of their sexual or gender identity/expression/orientation.
  5. Or be attracted to non-humans e.g. plants, robots, toys, non-living things, aliens

Could many of us be born gender neutral? Just that environmental and societal factors, as well as life events – shapes us to feel most aligned to the current gender and orientation label we associate ourselves to.

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Question to Ponder:
1Why does one’s attraction to a person seems so interlinked with the private parts when both are 2 separate things. E.g. Not generalizing to all homosexuals – A lesbian may feel disgusted by a man’s private part, or a gay may not feel comfortable with inserting their penis into a vagina. Is it because of norms of physical gender traits indoctrinated into us which is why we often associate the vagina to a woman and a penis to a man? And as such, we are therefore made to feel a sense of aversion to the private part of the gender we are not attracted to?

Unheard Voices: The memoir of a Singaporean transgender sex worker‏

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Singapore’s version: The “hype” over gender equality and feminism.”

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She’s a slut! She shouldn’t cover herself up so much!

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 Pre-marital sex is unethical and shameful. Virginity is pure virtue.

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PARENT’S HORRID TABOO TOPICS OF “MASTURBATION”“PENIS””SEX”“VAGINA”

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I’m a woman that don’t identify myself as feminist, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

1Gender norms: Are the terms – Femininity and Masculinity socially constructed?

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What the hell is the difference btw Sexual – empowerment v.s. objectification?

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Are women “asking for it” when we distract males with our short skirts?

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To check out our other posts on alternative issues, click HERE

Written by: Cass

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Featured images credits:  Paris Chia Photography (website), @Instagram@Facebook

 

 

 

 

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