Do Labels Matter in Gender Identity ?

Do Labels Matter in Gender Identity ?

For those of you that have had experience with people dealing with their gender identity or are dealing with it yourselves, then you have came to right place! For years I have been writing on gender identity issues which has been inclusive of all "shades" of gender, including those who self-identify as a transgender person, a cross-dresser, gender fluid, non-binary, or bi-gender. What I have found is that the labels for all of these groups can be misleading, constrictive and misunderstood.

We as a society are quick to label others based on our own expectations, experiences of others and what the conversation is in the media. Often, we can make our own conclusions to avoid a bias toward a social group, based on our own experiences on groups of people we are familiar with. Yet, with gender identity this makes it difficult because so many of  the people who have gender identity issues are in hiding. For example, most of the cross-dressers haven't come out to tell their story. Many of them haven't even told their wife! And, did you know that cross-dressers are largely straight males who work in traditionally dominant male careers?

And within this group, and there are many cross-dressers worldwide, there are some who really have always self-identified as a the opposite gender but were not allowed to live the opposite gender or even talk about it as they would be told they needed therapy or were crazy. They spent years questioning who they are and where they fit into society, if at all. They haven't been able to come out as their femme self as a male for this would mean they may lose their job, wife, children and friends---basically everything they treasure. The cross-dressing label to many is frightening and kinky. Some think its a sexual act or a release of stress, yet after speaking with hundreds of cross-dressers around the world, this is absolutely not the case. Here lies the power of a label to destroy someone's life.

With every gender label is a preconception and/or an obsession to define what this label is and to confine those looking into their gender identity to a judgmental definition that may or may not define who they are. It's a dangerous path that leaves those who are confused by their gender identity to take the route accepted by society rather than deal with the public scrutiny of being criticized for coming out and learning about who they really are. Many dealing with gender issues have been doing so since they were a child and are still trying to figure out where they fit on the gender scale.

I am pleased to announce my new radio podcast, Shades of Gender, which I will be hosting for Qchella Media and KGAY106.5. Check out or for this 30 minute discussion on the many shades of gender in our society and how it impacts all of us. Lets change up the labels and get to know the people who define them. Join the conversation and come back to this blog site for follow up on each of the shows.

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