Posted by: samandal | July 15, 2011


Ascension of Bahíyyih Khánum

In his seminal work The Seven Mysteries of Life, Bahá’í author Guy Murchie notes that humans are occasionally known to shift gender and actually manage to function as both male and female at the same time. We now understand that biological sex is not synonymous with gender; gender embraces the socially and culturally constructed experience of what it means to be a woman or a man, which will vary in accord with time and place, as well as other factors such as ethnicity, class and marital status. We attach cultural significance to biological differences, but such perspectives are far too narrow and only serve to reinforce the limitations and constraints of the conventional gender binary and any social system which is based thereon.

Julia Serano, author of Whipping Girl, the premiere text on transgender issues and experience, believes that gender is neither entirely inherent in people nor entirely constructed by society. She believes there are some aspects of gender that people are intrinsically inclined to express and others that society creates. In this sense, gender is both an attribution and an assumption, a process we live and a project we construct every day of our lives.