To whomever it may concern:
RE: My Gender Identity
Your gender identity isn’t the same as mine.
Please respect this important piece of information. It is an objective fact.
Whatever yours is, I can guarantee that it isn’t the same as mine.
If gender identity is now the absolute, ultimate criteria, for All Women Shortlists, for housing prisoners in jails, for recording crime statistics, for measuring pay disparity, for evaluating life and health outcomes, and for grouping the nation into two particular types. Then rest assured, I’m not going to be in the same category as you. No matter what you are.
In fact, if gender identity is a criteria for anything important, I’m basically screwed.
I don’t have a gender identity.
I have an individual identity, which is of absolutely no relevance to anything whatsoever. Unless there are plans to build individual prisons, toilets and changing rooms for all of the 66 million individuals in the UK. And an ‘All me shortlist’ would be great.
But when it comes to characteristics I share with other people? Ones that can usefully pop me into a group which has some kind of commonality? Gender Identity isn’t going to be one of those.
I can think of some characteristics I DO share with other people in the UK.
I share my eye colour with approximately 32 million people.
I share my ability to solve the Rubik’s cube with approximately 3 million people.
I share my propensity to sunburn in 5 seconds flat with maybe 1 million people.
And I share my SEX, my biological sex, with around 33 million people in the UK.
And, of course, that last particular category is clearly the most important of the lot
Because if you knew that category, you’d also know something else about me. Knowing which sex I am also tells you my likelihood of being raped. Of being paid less than average. Of being the perpetrator – or the victim – of a sex crime. Of being murdered by an intimate partner. Of being over, or under-represented every time I switch on the TV, open a newspaper, or look to my representatives in parliament.
If you know which category of sex I am, you’ll also know whether to screen me for cervical cancer, or prostate cancer. You’ll know that I’ll respond differently to medications and need different dosages. That my symptoms of a heart attack will look different. You’ll know whether a sporting competition against the opposite sex will mean likely victory for me, or guaranteed defeat and possibly injury. If you know my sex category, you’ll know whether I’m likely to need time off school when I can’t afford menstrual products, or whether this is an irrelevance to me. You’ll know whether my bodily and reproductive autonomy will be legislated over, or not. As it happens, having the same type of anatomy as half the world gives us not just our biology in common, but our likelihood of having similar experiences too. We have similar outcomes to each other, and different outcomes to the other half with whom we don’t share the same anatomy. But this has never been a secret.
Knowing what sex I share with those 33 million people will actually tell you a hell of a lot about me, and them too.
But apparently, this is not something you want to know any more.
What you want to know, when you ask me to fill out forms, or when you consider me for jobs is whether I hold a deep-down belief that I have the same type of mind or feelings or personality or identity or some such factor that would allow me to be awkwardly shoehorned into an identity category with someone of the opposite sex, and also with millions of others apparently in a huge brain-type identity group. You want to know not who I am the same sex as, but who do I share my identity with, and who do I distinguish myself from? Where does my brain fit – with these people, or those?
That’s what you are asking me now, instead of my sex. You want to know if I self-identify as… something you won’t or can’t really explain but which apparently is what woman, or man, now means. You can’t define it, but you expect me to tick the box all the same. Like asking me to commit to signing a blank contract which you’ll fill out later, perhaps. Or a blank cheque.
You understand that GENDER is a group, yes? It’s a category to put lots of people in, not an individual thing. It’s a declaration of “these people are the same”, and that’s why they are grouped together.
Do I ‘identify as’ that undefined, not sex-specific, unexplained group feeling? And do I believe that a huge group of people share this undefined, not sex-specific but important enough to write laws about – feeling?
The answer is no. I don’t. I can’t.
So there you have it.
I have a sex, which you don’t want to know or acknowledge. Of course, I suspect you know exactly what it is the moment you see or hear me, but we’ll pretend that doesn’t influence you in any way.
But, as I’ve said all along, I have no internal identity that belongs in a matched group with you, or anyone else, called ‘gender’.
Which leaves me nowhere, it seems. Where to put someone who doesn’t believe in group gender feelings?
I think, perhaps, I’m not alone in this.
I think, perhaps, that there are a great many like me.
A great many who really, really are hoping you’ll have a rethink on whether gender identity is such a super category after all to value so highly, instead of sex.
33 million like me, probably.
Person of a sex, but no gender identity