Your Grandparents Probably Won't Get Your Understanding of Gender

February 5th 2015

Alicia Lutes

Calling all the future Dr. Kinsey-of-gender-types out there: the nation's young people have a markedly different perspective on what gender is or is not — particularly in regard to it being more of a spectrum than two hard-and-fast sides.

In a move that completely sidesteps previous generations' understandings gender, Fusion revealed — in their Massive Millennial Poll — that 50 percent of American young people look at gender in a radical new way. Well radical only inasmuch as its application to the idea of gender itself. Things falling on spectrums is nothing new (hence all those Kinsey references up there before) when it comes to human nature and sexuality. So why stop there?

Particularly when you consider just how not-radical the idea is outside the US. In India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Germany, and Australia (just to name a few), a third or "indeterminate" gender categorization is not uncommon — to say nothing of their more tolerant views on those that fall outside of gender or biological sex norms — with governments enacting laws and regulations to protect the rights of those outside the traditional binary.

Fusion Study on Gender

And one thing the current, younger generation understands more than those that came before it is that so much of what we consider gender itself is a social construct. All too frequently, our society has a tendency to conflate sexuality, biologic sex, and gender, thanks to our heteronormative ideas on what it means to be a "man" or "woman" and the old, outdated roles in which everyone has previously been expected to participate. What is inherent and natural in gendered human behavior has by and large been more social conditioning than anything else. Unlike older generations, Millennials have grown up in this discussion.

In fact, young people are now given the choice to push boundaries and question the necessity of gender roles and what they actually accomplish on a societal level. At least in a way that's far more substantial than before. So we're more than OK with a little body politics subversion and rebellion when it helps everyone in their own personal quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.