Gender is more than just red and blue

Dirk Schnoes, Staff Writer

In 1933, a man named Alfred Charles Kinsey became interested in different forms of sexual expression after having a conversation with a colleague at Indiana University.

Primarily a biologist studying gall wasps, he quickly became devoted to his studies of human sexuality and is known as a pioneer in the field of sexology.

Early on, he developed what is known as the Kinsey Scale, a 0-6 scale with 0 being completely heterosexual, 6 being completely homosexual, and X, which was later added to the scale, for those who do not experience sexual attraction (asexuals).

This opened the door for people to identify as something other than simply straight or gay, as quite a large percent of the human population falls between 0 and 6 rather than squarely on either end.

More recently, Western culture is becoming aware of what is known as the gender spectrum.

Unfortunately, gender is typically viewed as a binary with only two boxes in which to place a checkmark: male or female.

This is far too rigid a system for something that varies as widely as human anatomy does—imagine if there were only two body types, only millions of identical males and millions of identical females, and nothing else.

Anyone who happened to look different would be made to cover up or told that there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit the mold. The same thing is done when people are forced into a gender binary.

Growing up and attending camps, I heard the phrase “Boys are blue, girls are red, no purple-ing” more times than I could possibly count. While I understood that the supervisors were trying to tell us to act appropriately, I was not at all comfortable with being lumped in with the “red gender.”

There is something to be said for using color to identify gender, however. This time, imagine that human beings are born with a slight tint to their skin.

Some are blue, some are red, some are orange, or yellow, or a particularly minty shade of green. One person is the color of sunflower petals and someone else is the color of lemon drops.

They’re both yellow, but slightly different shades. Some people are purple, and maybe some days they’re a bluer purple, and other days they’re a redder purple just depending on how they feel on any given day.

Even though this is a fantasy world, it’s a much more accurate portrayal of how gender and sexuality work than trying to label everyone as male or female, straight or gay.

Sometimes, it’s easy to tell a person’s gender or sexuality (your “Gay-dar” goes off, which is actually a response to hormones and pheromones), but other times it can come out of what seems like nowhere.

If a poll was taken of the Wayne State College student population, the percentage of students who identify as anything other than binary would almost certainly come as a surprise to many.