I just recently helped organize an event in our company in celebration of June Pride – a SOGIE 101 session. And in that event, I also was one of the speakers and I was assigned to talk about GENDER EXPRESSION.
Gender Expression, as we know, is the 3rd part of SOGIE. And just to emphasize, let me state the meaning of that here: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression.
Being the novice public speaker that I am, I tried to write what I was going to say about this topic in the hopes of delivering a powerful speech to the audience. But, alas, it only proves that, perhaps, I’m really more of a writer than a speaker. Not that it will ever stop be from speaking about topics that I strongly believe anyway.
So, I’ve already delivered this “speech” (though I will be delivering it again in 2 weeks) and I was looking at my notes and thought it would be such a wasted to let what I wrote about Gender Expression just rot in my Evernote files. So here goes, ~
Hi I’m S. My Sexual Orientation is Lesbian, I identify as Genderqueer and I’m here to talk to you about Gender Expression. If Sexual Orientation is who to go to bed with and Gender Identity is who you go to bed as, then Gender Expression is how you are in every waking moment of everyday.
Gender Expression is: what you look like – your clothes, your hair; your mannerisms, facial expression, your voice, they way you talk, your language… pretty everything you seem to the outside world.
Like the other two, Gender Expression is also a spectrum. Each and every one of us has a certain level of masculinity and femininity in our personalities and the way we express ourselves in our daily lives.
Some may have more of one spectrum than the other(cisgenders), some may have both or equal levels while for some (androgynous), these two spectrums change on a day to day basis (Genderfluid).
Gender Expression doesn’t mean that if you are gay you have to act a certain way, it doesn’t mean that you have to always be loud and proud and wear your rainbow colored heart on your sleeve. It only means that you let what’s on the inside flow on the outside and not be held down by other people’s perceptions.
Why is this important?
Imagine a person – a gay person who chooses to cover parts of his personality so as not to reveal their SO or GI – out fear of being judged or ridiculed or prejudiced. Imagine what that person’s day to day would be like. He would probably we spending more time than he should in choosing what to wear, how to modulate his voice, watch his language and do all things that are pretty much synthetic and is not really coming out from what within him.
All that time and energy wasted in covering up a part (an important part) of who he is – wasted. just to pass as normal or not to attract too much unwanted attention from other people.
Now, imagine a person – a gay person who is ruled by such restrictions. He wakes up, prepares for work, throws on his clothes and he’s out the door. He goes about his day as himself without a care in the world, of whether what he’s doing might be disagreeable to other people. And because of that, he has more time and energy that he can dedicate to discovering and living up to his full potential.
So, if you ever wonder again why some people do what they do – Why do they have to be so loud? Why do they have to dress that way knowing that it’s going to cause ridicule or it’s just making it more difficult for them… think about that first person. Think about the inner struggles that that person goes through day after day and how much disadvantage that may cause to fulfilling his dreams. Every one deserves a fair chance in succeeding in life and that is what equality means. “