Gender is a spectrum, not just two boxes

If you’ve followed my work over the years (and a lot of it is archived at this website) you’ll know that I have adapted and evolved my views on human sexuality over the last two decades. One of the most helpful shifts, which I believe is foundational to making it easier to engage with the many different debates about human sexuality and gender that are raging in society right now, is to stop thinking of gender as two boxes called “male” and “female” and to start seeing it as a spectrum.

Everything else in our world exists outside a simple binary. Line a random group of people up, and you can see this: height, weight, eye colour, amount of hair, ability with language, intelligence, etc, etc. Nature is filled with animals that show this spectrum, even shifting from male to female and places in between.

When we deal with human sexuality, there are three main issues to consider:
1. Sexual biology – what external and internal gonads someone has, as well as chromosomes and hormones. This is who someone IS sexually.
2. Sexual preferences – this is who someone is sexually attracted to
3. Gender – this is a whole range of societal markers that indicate a particular place in society based on the above.

All three of these exist on spectrums, and can shift and change over time.

Here are some resources to help you understand this further:

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