Forget about chromosomes, middle school sex education, even the junk in your own jeans because these days there’s more to gender than just what meets the eye.
So let’s rip the band-aid off: Sex and gender are different things.
No matter what biology tells us, there will always be people who don’t feel like they fit into the mold of “Boy” vs “Girl,” also known as the Gender Binary. This concept goes hand-in-hand with the idea that gender can be a spectrum on which a person can fall anywhere, or even outside of it.
This is the difference between the transgender people who transition from being perceived as one thing to the other, vs. the transgender people going from one thing to something… entirely other.
Now don’t get scared off yet. You’ve seen this idea in action plenty of times before. Think of Jaden Smith wearing skirts or Miley Cyrus wearing a “GENDER IS OVER” tank top. Think about male singers wearing eyeliner, or girls cutting off their hair and wearing pants. Of course when women started wearing trousers it caused a social uproar, so it makes sense that gender variant people (ie: boys wearing dresses and girls with cool hair) still tend to garner funny looks in public, concurrent with the bathroom debates and the country’s continued neo-protestant ideas about sex and gender.
It should be said that teenagers with colored hair and avant-garde fashion choices are not the only pioneers of the non-binary revolution. Anyone with any body-type, background, or color can be found across the non-binary gender communities. It’s quite likely that people all around you are having “gender doubts” whether consciously or not.
It’s not common knowledge, but non-binary identities have always existed, from the Two-Spirit Native Americans to the Buginese people of Indonesia who recognize five distinct genders. The inclination to live outside the Western ideas of gender and sex will always exist, we just need to start embracing it.