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Is it time for the U.S. to expand its concept of gender beyond the binary?

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Gender neutral pronouns

Does the “opposite sex” really exist?

A new book argues it’s time for Americans to expand their concept of gender beyond the binary.

Gender is ingrained in U.S. culture, even before birth. “Male” and “female” identities are enforced through fashion, hairstyles, toys, language and societal expectations.

Some say there are at least 32 genders — and that may barely be the tip of the iceberg. If this is true, why does modern society continue to perpetuate the myth of a gender binary, and what are the racial and economic implications of doing so?

What is gender and what factors influence our understanding of it? Does “male” or “female” adequately represent a person’s internal biological layers and sense of self? What role do race and money play in normalizing the notion that people are inherently one or another?

When and how does an individual develop their gender identity? What does it mean to be nonbinary or gender fluid? Why is it important to clarify the difference between "sex" and "gender”?

How do outdated concepts of gender and definitions of masculinity and femininity contribute to gender disparities and discrimination in the United States and beyond?

Guest: Kathryn Bond Stockton, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of English and inaugural Dean of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation at the University of Utah, and author of the book “Gender(s)

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, December 6.