American Culture Norms and Gender Identity Issues

“Identity”. It has almost become a buzzword both in America and around the world. As we, as a society, learn more about the LGBTQ community, we begin to understand the effect gender identity has on many.

Without a doubt, many people have very specific views on gender. In the United States expectations are that men will be strong and aggressive.  Women and girls, on the other hand, are expected to be polite and feminine. While the validity of these beliefs changes over time, some peoples’ opinions seem to hold strong.

These unwavering perspectives can be stifling. They are stereotypical in nature and are both incredibly general and often inaccurate. Because some take these views to be absolute truth, many across the country and around the world face what is truly unnecessary discrimination. 

For years, women have fought for equal rights (and equal pay). They have shown themselves to be smart, strong, and capable of doing anything. Years ago, women were primarily relegated to be homemakers. Those who did work held administrative positions. Today women are leaders in our country. They hold senior corporate positions, work in construction, drive trucks, and are astronauts and pilots. One is even the Vice President of the United States.

That said, many today are still predisposed to “typical” gender roles. They place significant weight on appearances and beliefs. Sadly, it impacts the ability of a great many to succeed.

Importance of Gender Identity

As members of the LGBTQ community, we recognize the value and importance of seeing people as individuals, judging them on what they do and how they do it, not how they look or their gender. It is our job to continue this practice and to encourage others to behave as we do. We should:

  • Treat People Equally: Respect everyone, always. Modeling this behavior sets an example for those you are with.

  • Stand Up for Others: If you see gender stereotyping, speak up. Point it out and provide suggestions for new and more appropriate behaviors.

  • Be Supportive: If your friends or acquaintances share their frustrations, listen actively and openly. And ask them how they think things could be better and help them share their ideas and bring them to fruition.

Appreciating individuality and ability as opposed to appearance and gender identity will help make the world a little bit more equal.