Gender Identity and Conformity
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Gender Identity and Conformity

How the two intersect in more ways than you'd think.

Gender Identity and Conformity

While gender identity is still a concept being mulled by the general public, there is a lot to say about the bravery it requires to come out as transgender, relating a lot to a widely-accepted concept, conformity. A person's gender identity is their internal feeling and sense of being a boy, a girl, or an alternative gender such as gender-neutral. This is not to be confused with a person's sex, or their sex assigned at birth. When someone's sex and gender identity do match, then that person is "cis-gendered." When someone's gender identity does not match their sex, they are transgendered. Someone's gender identity determines the pronouns that the rest of the world should respectfully call them.

I have a friend who I will call Anna who identifies as non-binary, or gender-neutral, though they were assigned female at birth, and go by they/them/theirs. Anna is Latinx and comes from a Mexican household. They have told me that part of the reason they feel that they are nonbinary is because of the heavy gender roles promoted by the Hispanic culture. Anna says that women are generally seen as the house caretakers and men are viewed as the hands-on workers and earn the money for the family. Anna realized they were nonbinary because they feel like both of these stereotypes.

Conformity is the trend of people changing their behavior, beliefs, and attitudes due to group pressure. Conformity has been proven to cause people to say the incorrect answer at times when they knew it was incorrect, but everyone else in a group said it, so they did not want to stick out. Conformity's mob mentality can also lead to much worse things. Stampeding crowds of people all rushing into stores on Black Friday have trampled and killed people.

I am on an improv team on campus, and during one of our practices, we voted for which sketch idea out of a handful we would like to be in the next show. Our leader suggested that we all say out loud which sketch we liked most, with one person keeping a tally of the votes. However, once a couple of people in a row had voted for a sketch that I didn't like as much, I felt compelled to say it, too, despite wanting to go with another one more. Because my peers had all preferred one option, I didn't want to be perceived in any negative way because of my alternative choice, so I conformed.

Conformity encompasses all that urges people to act, think, and be the same. This push is created out of fear of being different. Gender identity refers to how one perceives their gender to be, not their biological sex. When the gender a person feels themselves to be does not match the gender they were assigned at birth, they are referred to as "gender nonconforming." They are not succumbing to the social pressures of living as the gender they have been told they must be. In some ways, this is the ultimate act of nonconformity.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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