The Gender Blur
GLAM I Am
Gender Aptitude Test
You’re not the same person you were 10 minutes ago. None of us is. We change our attitudes, our careers, our relationships. Even our age changes minute by minute. We change our politics, our moods, and our sexual preferences. We change our outlook, we change our minds, we change our sympathies. Yet when someone changes genders, we call the television talk shows. Well, here’s what I think: I think we do change our genders. All the time.
Maybe it’s not as dramatic as a tabloid headline screaming “She Was a He!” But we do–all of us–regularly change genders. In response to each interaction we subtly shift the kind of man or woman, boy or girl, or whatever gender we’re being at the moment.
So . . . how gender-savvy are you? Come on–no one’s looking over your shoulder. Just circle the answer that most nearly matches your point of view, and by the end you should have a good idea of your gender aptitude.
1. Why are you taking this quiz?
a) I’m not taking this quiz. I’m just looking through the questions.
b) This kind of thought-provoking discussion is interesting, even though it doesn’t apply to me.
c) I like to question things I’ve taken for granted. It changes how I think.
d) This gender question seems like a real Pandora’s Box to me. Let’s throw open the cover and see what flies out!
2. How many genders do you really think there are?
a) Two. What a pointless question!
b) I’m going to guess that there are several genders and two sexes.
c) Three? Four? Wait . . . five! No . . . six. Ummm . . . 12? I don’t know!
d) An infinite number. What a pointless question!
3. What exactly do you feel the basis of gender to be?
a) Genitalia, hormones, chromosomes, and brain structure. I mean, duh!
b) Gender may be a social construct, but it’s based on, or influenced by, biology.
c) Gender is how we act, not what we are: We’re all human, after all.
d) It’s a lot of heretofore unnamed social, biological, and psychological factors masquerading as a bipolar system. I mean, duh!
4. Which of the following most nearly expresses your ideas about gender and sexual preference?
a) Birds do it, bees do it. Face it: Heterosexuality is natural.
b) I’m straight, but sometimes I lust in my heart for . . . umm . . . other things.
c) Well, in theory, I imagine I could be attracted to anyone, no matter what gender.
d) Oh, come on! As long as no one’s getting hurt, any pleasurable activity between any two (or more) consenting adults is just dandy.
5. How have you lived your gendered life so far?
a) I have been living my biological destiny.
b) I may have been living a biologically destined gender, but I don’t want to anymore.
c) I’ve been experimenting: using bits of some genders here and bits of other genders there.
d) Let’s just say that in the battle of the sexes, I’m a conscientious objector.
6. Has anything you’ve read about gender recently made you want to stretch your own gender?
a) No. I’m happy the way I am. Always have been, always will be.
b) Not really, but I might be more lenient when it comes to other people.
c) Yes, I might consider that . . . but it’s a little intimidating.
d) Yup. Now I’m more determined than ever.
7. When you see someone on the street whose gender is unclear, how do you react?
a) Honestly? With some combination of revulsion, pity, and bewilderment.
b) I try to figure out if it’s a man or a woman.
c) I mentally do a makeover so the person can pass better as one or the other.
d) I probably notice the person is staring at me, trying to figure out what I am!
8. Which of the following most nearly matches your definition of the word transgender?
a) It’s a disorder that results in men cutting off their penises.
b) Being born in the wrong body, or having the wrong sex for your gender.
c) Changing from one gender to another, or just looking like you’ve done that.
d) Transgressing gender, breaking any rule of gender in any way at all.
9. Who gets to say exactly what gender you are?
a) It’s not up to anyone to say. Gender is a biological fact: man or woman.
b) Gender may be a biological fact, but biologists are constantly refining their definitions . . . and that makes me nervous.
c) We’re force-fed gender by a conspiracy of science, law, and the media. Oliver Stone should make a movie about this.
d) I do.
10. OK, what’s your gender?
a) Oh, please. I’m a real man/real woman.
b) Well, I’m a biological man/woman.
c) I was afraid I’d be asked this question. I’m just not sure anymore.
d) Fiddle-de-dee . . . tomorrow is another gender.
There. That wasn’t so difficult, was it? Now, let’s see how you score. Yes, it’s a fairly accurate quiz, but please remember: It’s only aptitude we’re measuring here, and, like any aptitude, it can be changed with a little work.
Give yourself 5 points for every (a) answer, 3 for each (b), 1 for every (c), and 0 for (d). Add it up and check the scale below to find your Instant Gender Aptitude.
Your Instant Gender Aptitude
0-15 Gender Freak
This was child’s play for you, wasn’t it? But aren’t you delighted to see all this stuff appearing in mainstream culture? Maybe it’s time for you to break into a mainstream world, as freaky as you are.
16-25 Gender Outlaw
Honey, you’re too far gone to make the climb back up to “real” man or “real” woman. Your next step would be to let yourself explore some of the places that really thrill you, no matter the social taboos. Just be kind and compassionate when you’re doing it, OK?
26-35 Gender Novice
You’re not always taken for “normal,” are you? And this gender stuff is probably kinda new to you . . . a little scary and a little thrilling, right? Maybe it’s time to explore exactly what scares you. Go on . . . you know how to be gentle with yourself.
Look, I know this gender-as-construct-or-performance stuff might sound weird, but the world is changing. Maybe someone in your own family or circle of friends or co-workers is exploring gender. It would probably pay off to study more of this stuff, if only to help you get along with them, and to keep up with people who are going to be living more and more outside gendered “norms.”
46-50 You’re Captain James T. Kirk!
Omigod . . . I’ve always wanted to meet you! Look, when you boldly go where no man has gone before, it’s us freaks you’re going to meet up with. Honey, we are what makes life worth exploring.
Transgender activist Kate Bornstein is the author of My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely Routledge, 1998).