• Reading Level 5
Science | Physical Education | PSHE

Xanthe, 15: ‘You can just have fun with gender’

What does it mean to be gender-fluid? Xanthe tells The Day that they do not feel like a boy or a girl. “I’m just me,” they say. More teenagers than ever are rejecting the old gender binaries… Xanthe is 15 years old. They love "eating and sleeping mostly", have a pet owl named Squiggle, and one day they hope to be a stylist to the stars - ideally a K-popShort for Korean pop. Pop music originating from South Korea. band. "I love K-pop. The music is so good, everyone's so pretty, and it's so different from western music... it's a lot more stylish." They are also gender-fluid, meaning they do not think of themselves as a boy or a girl, but can switch between the two. Their genderA person's gender identity (whether they feel like a man, woman or something else) is not the same as their biological sex (which is determined by genitals, hormones or chromosomes). is not fixed; it can change depending on the day. "Put very simply, I feel I can wear a suit comfortably, but also rock a pair of heels with it." Gender-fluidity is a non-binarySomeone who does not identify as a boy or a girl. gender identity. "Non-binary" is an umbrella term for genders that are neither male nor female. For Xanthe, it means "you can go to the two extremes. You can be incredibly manly, you can be incredibly womanly." Xanthe does not mind which pronouns people use to refer to them - "they", "she" or "he" are all fine. Often, people assume they are a girl, as their body is biologically female. But with short hair, they can also be mistaken for a boy. "I quite enjoy when people think I'm a boy because it's different from what I usually get... it makes me feel kind of giddy." To Xanthe, "gender is a mental state and does not at all apply to your body type. It applies to your taste, it applies to the way you act." They say that "if there was a scale from one to 10, one being incredibly male and 10 being incredibly female, I'd say I'm about a six or seven. Because I do have a slightly more feminine side... But I will occasionally sit in a very masculine way or I will wear very masculine things." More and more teenagers are rejecting the gender binary (the idea that there are only two genders, male and female). Xanthe believes there are an "infinite" number of genders. They say social media is helping more non-binary people to express their individuality. Often, however, "people assume you're just making it up. But it doesn't feel like something that I need to really explain... I'm okay with it really, because it's their problem that they don't understand." How important is gender to society? "Reasonably," Xanthe says. "I don't think gender completely defines a person, because it is up to you how you define yourself." Other things can be more important, "from the way you speak to the way you dress to... anything. It's your life, it's up to you what you do with it." As for the rest of society, "I don't think we should be worrying" about gender, "I think we should be presenting more of a spectrum. That's very important. Because a lot of people do get a lot of hate" for being non-binary. "A lot of people get discrimination for it, I'm just lucky that I haven't." KeywordsK-pop - Short for Korean pop. Pop music originating from South Korea.

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