Gender vs. Sex: Accepting the “other”

Have you ever wondered what actually defines you as a female? Or what actually defines you as a male? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to not identify mentally with what you appear physically? Many people find themselves in this situation. Although you may check the box that says “female”, you might mentally feel as though you are a male, and that’s OK.

In Elizabeth P. Challinor’s article, “Sex changes and changing rooms”, delves into the distinction between “gender” and “sex”. Challinor says, “Gender has, in my opinion, become such a mainstream word that in some contexts, at least here in Portugal, it has become a misplaced substitute for sex”. Our society has always had a hard time separating gender from sex. One could say that your sex differs from your gender.

We can differentiate sex and gender by saying that gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors and attributes that you consider appropriate for “men” and “women”. We can refer to sex as the physical and biological characteristics that define someone as a man or a woman. So, now we can say that you cannot interchangeably use gender and sex.

In this article, Challinor explores how in our ever-changing world, we need to see more titles on doors referring to “other” on top of “male” or “female”. We can our world adapting to this idea of “other” when we look at some applications that give the option as male, female, or other. We are finally living in a society that is accepting “other”. We need to see more and more changes regarding this topic. Finally understanding the difference between sex and gender will allow for this to happen.