"Call me Caitlyn" was the statement on the most recent cover of Vanity Fair magazine with a very feminine brunette who vaguely looks like Bruce Jenner in drag. This epic announcement has influenced passionate responses and a myriad of questions.
Bruce's transition to Caitlyn is possibly the most public declaration for a transgender person, and many persons seeing it for the first time were shocked. What made it even more traumatic is that Bruce was the ultimate alpha male. He's an Olympic star, father of six children and has been married three different times.
So how could he want to be identified as a woman?
Simply put, your identity is how you see yourself, and how you want to be seen by others. Gender can be masculine, feminine, intersex (having both male and female characteristics), or transgender (when a person's biological sex and gender identity don't match up). For some, gender identity is defined simply by the biological gender that they were born with. Culture and tradition also influence gender identity because there are defined gender roles that most persons conform to.
A person's sexuality is defined by the gender of the person that they are attracted to sexually. The spectrum can vary from asexual (no sexual attraction), heterosexual (opposite gender), homosexual (same gender), bisexual (male and female), pansexual (all genders).
It is important to note that while identity and sexuality are important aspects of human behaviour, they are not mutually exclusive.
Gender identity is very personal and though there are a lot of expectations placed on individuals because of their biology and so deviating from that is met with much skepticism. Butch women, for example, have become commonplace in Jamaica as quite a few young women choose not to express their identity in a stereotypically feminine way. While some of these ladies are homosexual, it's not always the case. While we continue to understand each other and persons express their identities, it is important that we are respectful of each other's choices whether we agree with them or not.