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Sex, gender and company: we explain everything to you!

The other day I came face to face with a gingerbread man. I know what you’re going to tell me: “it’s not the season!” ". I still want to remind you that we are in Belgium and that not 3 weeks ago we were back in the middle of winter.

Well, imagine that this little guy came to shake up, with all his natural nonchalance, my beliefs and certainties. And yet, they have been embedded in me since the dawn of time. I was bathed in it from birth and made sure that I soaked it up well throughout childhood. In short, there are women and men. If you have a vagina you are a woman (and vice versa) and if you have a penis you are a man (and vice versa).

A priori it is very simple. But come to think of it, wouldn't it be too simple...

Anyway, Genderbread (that's what he's called) came up to me one evening when I was coming home from work and said "Hey, wait, butterfly, I have a few lessons that we forgot to teach." teach you.” He was very nice but I was tired. So I asked him if we couldn't postpone it for another day or for him to make an appointment. He told me ok, if you answer a question correctly, we'll do that another day.

— If I tell you a woman with a penis, you tell me...?, he asked me straight out.

- That it doesn't exist, I retorted, only too happy to have the right answer.

“Mazette, it’s more serious than I thought,” he said in disappointment.

You can imagine, I thought back to the Regina pizza that I had eaten for lunch, and I said to myself, it's not possible, they must have made a mistake and put hallucinogenic mushrooms on it for me to come tell me that a woman with a penis exists. Before I had time to come to my senses, Genderbread had released... but not its lump, a panel summarizing the lesson of the day. Rho, you have to follow a little!

He summarized things for me as follows:

A person is defined by a whole bunch of characteristics including their gender identity, their gender expression, their sex and their sexual orientation where we can distinguish sexual attraction and romantic attraction.

Gender identity is how we perceive ourselves. Some people feel like men, others women, others neither, still others a bit of both or sometimes one and sometimes the other. And all this regardless of their gender.

Gender expression is how we present ourselves to the world. Here too, alongside the two feminine and masculine poles, there is a great variety and even more in terms of the terms used (butch, lipstick, twink, bear, transvestite, androgynous, etc.).

Sex is a little more complex than just what we have between our legs. It participates in it but in the same way as other physical characteristics, hormones, chromosomes and internal sexual organs. Once again, it's not just males and females. Not only are some people born with a form of intersex (there are many) but others have also been able to change, thanks to modern technologies, their hormonal profile or their phenotypic sex for example. In addition, some males or females are sterile or will not develop all the characteristics expected of their sex.

Sexual orientation must be divided at least into two. Sexual attraction on the one hand which represents who you want to sleep with (a non-binary person, a person who has a penis or a vagina, a feminine person, a man, person, etc.) and on the other hand romantic attraction , that is to say with whom we want to share a part of the journey.

Finally, if even a gingerbread man can explain these notions, are they so difficult to integrate and distinguish one from the other?

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