Having a gendered view of the world

One of my closest friends is a trans-male and I once had a conversation with him about people’s perception of the world and how that factors in (or does not factor in) divergent people. The question we kept backing to was: When someone looks at a non-binary person, does the onlooker see a “person” or do they see a woman/man first? If the onlooker sees a person, there’s no conflict. However, if the onlooker sees a woman/man first, then comes the question of how they deal with it and whether the non-binary person’s identity is worth more than the onlooker’s perception. 

There can be multiple reasons why someone would have a gendered view of the world, reasons that go beyond cruelty and intentional unwillingness to accept someone else’s identity. Possibly the person lacks social skills. Maybe nobody even had a conversation with the person about non-gendering. Perhaps they view themselves as gendered as a part of their personality and though they know of people who are different, they don’t really understand what it means to live it. Maybe the person has lived their whole life in an extremely gendered community and has no personal navigation tools in a non-gendered world.  

Could be any number of reasons and to be fair, it is judging without knowing to just place a label on the reason. If you haven’t seen the similarity with the perception of non-binary people, here it is more explicitly laid out: non-binary people don’t identify with a gender and wish to be considered and treated irrespective of any social gender norms. They do not want to be judged according to standards that they do not agree with. They don’t want to be judged without being known. So then, why judge people who have a gendered view without knowing why?

Understanding the side of gendering does not necessarily mean seeing it as an acceptable way of perceiving. Our world is moving towards better gender representation, but it is also de-gendering. Some may disagree with this change but that’s another debate altogether. Assuming that the change is warranted, we do need to find ways of adapting and dealing with it. So for those who have a gendered view, you are not alone. Take your time. Just try to open your mind to what can be. 

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