June has been designated PRIDE month, recognizing all those in the LGBTQ community and their supporters. This week I decided to use this space to shed light on the spectrum of sexuality and gender “categories”, and add further that individual gender identity and sexuality often belies definition and categorization. These aspects of one’s identity are as individual as artistic and even wardrobe preferences.
Several years ago, Sam Kellerman devised the model he referred to as the “Genderbread Person” to exemplify that sexuality or gender identity are not a simple duality but a complicated mosaic of Sexual and Gender Identity, Expression, attraction and biologic sex. In each major character there is a spectrum of maleness to femaleness.
For example, a person may be born with female genitalia, but identifies with characteristic male qualities, is sexually attracted to both males and females but romantically attracted to female gender individuals. Classification as gay/straight, male/female is grossly inadequate in describing or categorizing this person. No single gender, sexuality or attraction accurately describes “Them”. The gender bread person helps us understand this human being’s life experience and identity more accurately. I encourage you to check it out!
As we strive to more humbly accept all humans as having the same basic needs for love, acceptance, security and relevance let us celebrate this PRIDE month by exercising acceptance and compassion. For those trying to navigate a culture that often substitutes categorization for acceptance, let us realize that labelling often does more to make those doing the labeling more comfortable while ignoring the human needs of those being labeled. To live your true self, and to not fear expressing your human needs truthfully takes courage. We can best honor the courage of those that Pride month recognizes, by treating all human beings with the compassion and understanding they deserve. Health and Happiness!
Dr. John Monaco