From challenging gender roles to challenging the concept of gender as a whole, identity politics are changing rapidly—and for the better, ushering in a world of greater inclusivity for all gender expression. We got a sneak peek at Katie Couric’s new National Geographic special, Gender Revolution, which features her interviews all over America with an inspiring group of gender non-conforming people, from a four-year-old who was born intersex to a transgender former professional tennis player. You can catch the special on the National Geographic Channel tonight, but here’s a li’l look at the fascinating things we learned:
1. “Gender is who you go to bed as. Sexual orientation is who you go to bed with.”
Couric sits down with author, comedian and social justice advocate Sam Killermann, who explains the difference between gender and sexual orientation in the simplest—and, TBH, best—way possible.
2. 1 in 1500 to 2000 people are born intersex.
Couric meets Rosie, a four-year-old who was born with a uterus and ovaries but has ambiguous genitalia. Unlike the majority of parents with intersex children, her parents chose to forego cosmetic surgery and let Rosie decide for herself which gender she would present as.
3. The number of trans people in the U.S. has doubled over the last five years.
There are now up to 1.4 million Americans who identify as trans. This does not mean the amount of trans people is growing but that people are more comfortable being open about their gender identity (yes!).
4. If one identical twin is transgender, the likelihood of the other twin being trans is 40%.
Couric meets Ellie, a young twin girl who identifies as trans. Although her and her twin brother were both born as males, Ellie has always felt like a girl.
5. More trans people were murdered in 2016 than any other year on record.
Although people are more comfortable being open about their gender identity, trans people are still at extremely high risk of physical and sexual assault—and murder.
6. The unemployment rate among trans people is twice the national average.
Couric meets Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans owner of six El Pollo Loco fast food franchises. Mendelsohn is committed to hiring more trans people at her restaurants to help turn those horrendous employment stats around.
7. High school students can have a big impact.
Gavin Grimm is one of the bravest high school students in North America. In the doc, we hear about how Grimm addressed his entire local school board about his right to use the boys bathroom. Grimm’s case is now being taken to the Supreme Court! <<cue tears>>
8. There’s lots of terms we need to start using to be as inclusive as possible.
Couric sits down with a college students who explain some modern gender identities, including:
Cisgender: Someone who identifies with the gender they were given at birth.
Pangender: Someone who identifies with a wide range of genders.
Gender-fluid: Someone whose gender varies over time.
A.F.A.B: Assigned Female At Birth.
A.M.A.B: Assigned Male At Birth.
9. There are many different types of trans gender expression all over the world.
An anthropologist explains that there are many other cultures, including Samoan, Mexican and Indian, that have three recognized and celebrated genders.
10: Millennials are changing the game.
In the doc, 24-year old Transparent star Hari Nef sits down with retired trans tennis player Renee Richards to talk gender identity. Although they are both trans activists, the two get into a bit of a disagreement; 82-year-old Richards believes gender roles are binary, while Nef believes they are fluid.
Catch the full two-hour documentary tonight at 9pm E.T/P.T on National Geographic.
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Laverne Cox on Orange Is the New Black and Trans Activism