I always liked the description of sexuality as a line with homosexuality on one side, heterosexuality on the other side and bisexuality plonked in the middle. People like to describe themselves or other people as one thing or another, but the reality is that most people probably lie a little further along the line than they care to admit. Hence, for example, the rabid rantings of desperately scared religious folks suppressing fleeting same-sex attractions they believe some nasty fairy put in their head. But I digress.
I was just thinking about gender characteristics, and if they could lie on a similarly imaginary line. I used to think that gender characteristics were pretty much imposed by society, as I couldn’t relate much to the ones that were supposed to be mine. But I now realise this is because on my imaginary line, I personally lie somewhere in the middle. I don’t feel either particularly female or particularly male, and I’m quite sure I would feel comfortable in either type of body. A quick glance around shows me that not everyone of my gender shares my mid-line position. And this is nothing to do with social conditioning, as anyone who has observed the preferences and behaviours of young children of different genders in the same circumstances will testify.
Everything and everyone is on slidey lines and slippy curves. There’s no precise male and no exact female. They are but convenient generalisations. Our own personal understanding of gender and sexuality doesn’t go halfway to giving an understanding of the variety of biological and physiological realities that exist in our quirky, individual human bodies.