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The irrelevancy of gender

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

'Twice as nice,' 2013, oil on fabric

Gender is irrelevant. Or at least it should be: in marriage, in employment and even in clothes. For most of us though, when it comes to choosing a life partner, gender is the opposite of irrelevant. It is very important. For the majority of us who are heterosexual, finding someone of the opposite sex is the first criteria on the list of potential life partners. Those who are homosexual should also be entitled to the recognition of matrimony with chosen life partners. Only those who are bi-sexual are truly free to love someone for who they are regardless of their sex. Perhaps they are the lucky ones.

Some people likened same sex marriage to paedophilia and I wonder if they are in fact paedophiles themselves because they have missed the key point about marriage: that it is an arrangement entered into by two willing adults. It requires consent by two people who are old enough to consent. So if they aren’t hurting anyone, what’s the big deal?

What two (or more) consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home is really none of my business or anyone’s business for that matter. This is presuming that no one is being hurt, of course. Our laws are designed to protect people from harm, especial our most vulnerable. So when sexual and physical abuse occurs, it's the public’s business, even if it happens in the privacy of one’s home. People who take advantage of others, and sexual predators who abuse and exploit people, are the ones we should be concerned with. They ones who should be publicly named and shamed, punished and judged. Not people who are born gay.

One’s sexual orientation has no bearing on their ability to perform their job or to be a parent. Similarly, the number of sexual partners that a woman has, does not determine her value to society. It has no impact on her ability to be a mother, a wife, a court judge or anything else. Your sexuality is a part of you but it need not define you.

The same can be said of your gender. It should not define you, limit you or control you. When you apply for a job, you should be judged purely on your ability to do that job regardless of your sex. However, as we know, this is not the case, which proven by the existence of a gender pay gap. It is true that men and women are different: women make babies, after all. But statistics show that even before and after the baby making years women are paid less to do the same jobs as men. Making a baby takes nine months, after which time fathers are just as capable of looking after their children as mothers. Why must a woman’s entire career be compromised due to the birth of a child, or the potential birth of a child? Even the women who don’t have children are paid less for doing the same jobs as men, just because they have a womb. What’s with that?

For gender equality to exist, gender must become irrelevant. Gender stereotypes must be redefined, fashion must be reinvented, language must be updated and Australia's current marriage laws must be rewritten.

Image: detail 'Twice as nice', 2013, oil on cotton fabric, 40cm x 30cm, sold.

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