February 8, 2015

Young People Move from the Gender Binary to Believing in Continuum

Young people are increasingly believing
in a gender spectrum
Photo: Maruy75
There is a shift in attitude towards gender among younger people, at least in the "Western" part of the world. This has implications for crossdreamers and transgender people.

Fusion just published results from its so-called Massive Millennial Poll, which asked 1000 Americans between the age of 18 and 34 about various issues.

When asked about their understanding of gender, 50 percent replied that they believe that gender is a spectrum, and that some people fall outside conventional categories. 46 percent said that there are only two genders, male and female.

57 percent of female assigned respondents believed in a gender spectrum, reflecting --perhaps -- that society is more forgiving of gender bending among women than among men.

Tumblr reflects shift towards spectrum

Figure from the Massive Millennial Poll.
Click on image to enlarge.
My wife Sally and I are currently blogging at  tumblr, a social site dominated by the young "millenials". (66 percent of all visitors are under the age of 35, while 39 percent are under 25 years-old.)

We are mostly blogging as news curators for transgender and genderqueer issues. This brings us in direct contact with young people struggling with their gender identity and/or sexuality. At the moment some 4000 people are subscribing to our two blogs.

Our observations underpin what Fusion is saying. Among those who are interested in transgender issues (and I am using transgender as an umbrella term for gender variance here), a large proportion support the idea of a gender continuum. This also apply to many of those who are clearly transsexual.

We can see this trend in the response we get on our blog posts. Those that go viral are most often those that help readers develop concepts that make it possible to understand and communicate identities outside the strict male/female binary.

Here are a few examples:

February 1, 2015

Can the crossdreaming concept stop trans women from accepting their identity?

Recently there was an interesting discussion about crossdreaming at the /r/transgender subforum (or "subreddit") at Reddit, the online social community.
Illustration by cienpies

A trans woman who calls herself Vancitygal criticized me for hiding the fact that most crossdreamers are transsexual people living in denial.

I asked neotecha, one of those taking part in the discussion, for permission to republish the following comment, which I think goes to the heart of this issue.

neotecha on crossdreaming

This is what neotecha said:
I'm happy to discuss this to anyone has further questions. 
For myself: I actually founded /r/crossdreaming and was an active participant in /r/autogynephilia, back before we split the subreddit. Yeah, go in there and my name is still in there, and also the top sticky post asking for moderators. Yes, I did come out as female, and I have started transitioning and I love it, but my experiences don't imply that everyone there shares them.

I want to discuss something that I feel the nuance is not being addressed here. What is Crossdreaming and what is Autogynephilia?

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!