Problems with the Gender Binary System

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Across the globe, gender systems vary in ways that often exclude individuals who don’t identify within their realms. From the binary structure of the West, to the ternary system of India, there are many ways in which societies conceptualize gender. Gender systems are generally considered inherent to humanity, and are seldom questioned or altered. This has led to the marginalization and discrimination of individuals who diverge from the implemented structure.
The gender binary of Western culture dichotomizes disgendered females and males, categorizing women and men as opposing beings and excluding all other people. Former professor of Gender Studies Walter Lee Williams argues that gender binarism “ignores the great diversity of human
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In the documentary Two-Spirits, Martinez’s journey as a genderqueer individual in modern day society is contrasted to his assumed experience in his native Navajo culture. The documentary defends the “essentially spiritual nature of gender,” and explains the varying gender systems throughout Native American tribes. It goes on to explore the repercussions of gender binarism, which, it argues, eventually led to Martinez’s murder. At the time of the crime, Martinez was known as one of the youngest victims of a hate-crime in modern day society.
Unfortunately, violent hate crimes linked to gender nonconformity are prevalent in United States society and are thought to account for a striking number of violent crimes in the U.S. Violent hate crimes are a result of discrimination, and are the cause of many deaths in our society. Discrimination is a societal epidemic that can lead to an array of health issues among targeted individuals. According to medical health article “The Damaging Effects of Discrimination”, published by Medical News Today, discrimination in teens “impacts grade-point averages and is associated with depression, distress and lower levels of self-esteem” (Wheeler). The article goes on to state that discrimination is devastatingly harmful among people of all
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