The Beauty Behind Gender

The Beauty Behind Gender

Today is Intersex Awareness Day.

For most people in the world that’s a nice side note. Like seeing a car rally with a few random people driving a make and model of a car you’ve never seen before. It’s interesting and novel, but not incredibly relevant to you.

For some of us, it’s a day to reflect on a piece of reality that lies beneath the very foundation of our existence. We are incredibly aware of the 5 biological markers that are more and more commonly believed to work together in defining gender, gender identity and even gendered attraction.

I realize that sentence may be lost on many people – including strong members and allies of the LGBTQ community. So let me take a step back and explain it a completely different way.

According to the biblical narrative, after the earth had flooded and clouds were receding and sunlight was once again breaking through the atmosphere, water and light combined to display the first visible rainbow. Color had presumably been around since the beginning of creation, but since post apocalyptic display put color to the map so to speak.

Fast-forward a couple of millennia to a shop in Germany where man and machine were collaborating on an epic step forward in history: the first printing press. Now despite the presence of color in the world around us, the first press was only capable of presenting either black or white; ink was either present or not. Even with its limitations, the technology was revolutionary and the result was beautiful. Black and white was good.

intersex-black-and-white

As time pressed on, it was discovered that the white space and black space could be managed in order to give the illusion of gray. Before long the space between black and white was being mastered by printers around the globe. The simple and become a little more complex and flexible. New arts and expressions emerged and the world saw that the grey was good.

intersex-grayscale

As even more time passed, print masters noticed that basic colors could be blended with multiple passes through a printing press to give the appearance of many colors – even thousands of colors. In print we use red, yellow and blue. In light we use red, blue and green. The result is the same. The machines became more complex and the product more striking and beautiful. The world saw that the colors were good.

intersex-rgb

Eventually artists and technicians alike began looking at the colors of nature and the colors coming off the press and realized that nature was by far out pacing the press. In an effort to keep up, the three basic colors were replaced by four colors. Once again the machine became more complicated and the product more stunning. People everywhere saw that the four-color press was good.

intersex-cmyk

Before long computers were assisting the human eye. It was noted that by adding even more root colors to the press, the millions of colors generated by a four-color press could be come trillions of colors with six and eight-color presses. Magazines, book covers, posters and billboards began to jump off the pages with deep and vibrant life. While the complexity of the designs and process grew exponentially, so did the possibilities and beauty of the work being published. In so many ways, the colors were seen as good.

intersex-hex

Our understanding of gender has been on a similar trajectory. We stated with a simple black and while based on the external organs. We now recognize up to five different parts of the body that contribute to what of us is male and what is female, feminine and masculine. And much like the colors, none of these are either on or off – they present themselves somewhere along a gradient. The all combine to create trillions of varieties of humanity along the complex and beautiful spectrum of gender. Each one special, each one unique, and each of God’s immense creative power. And now may the world see that all are good.

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