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Yes, I agree, one needn’t be transgender to not express gender in ways expected for their assigned sex and gender. As philosopher Judith Butler argued, we’re all just imitating (and failing to imitate) a gender ideal. We all fall short of social ideals for the gendered social statuses of girl/woman and boy/man. It’s just that some our failures to imitate the ideal are seen as permissible and some are not. It’s an “in the ballpark” vs. not “in the ballpark” situation. Some people’s varied gender performances are seen as acceptable variances for the sex/gender they were assigned at birth. And other people’s variances are not.

Related to the question at the center of my piece, I would argue that gay men are a social category of people who do not express gender in ways that are socially expected for the sex/gender they were labelled at birth. Many, also, do not identify with the sex/gender they were labelled, or do so only situationally. Which is why I feel the term “cisgender” cannot be accurately applied to gay men.

I don’t agree with your point about defining “gender role.” Just because gender roles have varied over time doesn’t mean the concept can’t be defined. Whether we like them are not, gender roles are not “bullshit.” They are a powerful force that enables and constrains social behavior. Just because we ‘made them up’ doesn’t mean they’re not real.

Professional homosexual. Professor. Writer. Scholar. Activist. Husband.

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