If you search on Google, ‘how many genders are there?’ the first thing that comes up is that ‘there are two main gender categories that everyone can agree on: male and female’. The phrasing of this statement alone irritates me, as if your gender identity has to be something everyone ‘agrees with’ to be valid. Although I identify as cisgender, the one thing I can’t stand is people who are ignorant to the fact that gender cannot be defined by two categories.

Physically, you are usually born with either a male reproductive system, or a female reproductive system. Although even this is not always the case; although uncommon, Intersex individuals (who have sexual characteristics that are neither completely male nor female) do exist, so even the argument that there are literally only two physical genders isn’t completely accurate.  But I think the main issue is that many don’t realise that gender isn’t actually defined by your sexual organs. By now many of us are aware of the concept that you may be born a boy or girl, but this does not mean that you identify with this and may wish to transition to the opposite gender. So if some don’t identify with their physical gender completely, like a transgender individual, why are those who only partially identify as cisgender, such as non binary individuals, not classed as valid?

A simple way to look at it is that male is one pole, and female is another, however between these there is an entire spectrum, meaning someone could identify from mostly cisgender to gender fluid and non binary. And this identity isn’t set in stone. It’s completely possible to feel more feminine one day and then more masculine the next, and this certainly isn’t defined by your genitals. Although your sex organs are part of your body, your identity, gender and otherwise, is determined by your mind. You can’t choose how you feel and what you identify as, but you can choose to present yourself however you want. If you want to go by male pronouns one day, and female the next, then you’re perfectly entitled to. Of course people may make honest mistakes with pronouns, and unfortunately some may not abide by your wishes, but that doesn’t make your gender any less valid. It’s also important that not many people can completely identify with one label, so why on earth is it not considered possible for someone to identify right between male and female, or anywhere on the spectrum.

Above all, we are human beings, and not something that can be defined by two labels. And everyone is entitled to choose their identity no matter what their sexual organs. The only people who can be defined by a single label is ignorant people.