Sex Change and Changing Rooms

When in Portugal at a public area such as the local swimming pool, one might come across a sign reading, “Children who need help to get dressed may only be accompanied by one person. Children who are over eight years old must go to the changing room that corresponds to their gender.”  Gender is a word used to describe characteristics pertaining to masculinity and femininity. Often times it is confused with sex and is often used in place of it due to peoples fear of misspeaking and being politically incorrect.  Cross culturally gender and sex have many different meanings. In American Indian religious culture there are three major genders men, women, and beardache. Beardaches being a morphological male  who does not fill societies standard male role. In American Indian culture compared to Portugal culture gender roles are not as black and white and much more accepted. another instance in which gender roles in a different culture are more open is in India there is third gender which is neither male nor female. This gender is referred to as Hijras. Like beardacehs, hijras have a special and significant role in their respective culture.  Gender and sex are two different things and should not be grouped as one and gender roles are different cross culturally and as cultures become more accepting are becoming less and less “black and white.”