I am a “baby boomer” and grew up with very traditional notions of sex as a dichotomy: boys and girls. Yet nearly a decade before I was born, the research of Alfred Charles Kinsey at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana was proving that sex is not binary but much more complex than that. Kinsey was a zoology professor, so one can imagine that his original interest was in species and organisms other than humans, yet his career is clearly defined by his research and understanding of human sexuality.
Given that his research starts a decade before my birth, one must wonder why it has taken us so long to understand that sexuality functions on a continuum. Change is hard. Insight is even harder, and acceptance can be close to impossible.
I live outside of Washington, D.C., and every year in the early summer, there is an annual Pride Parade celebrating and announcing the fact that sex is on a continuum. I know this is hard for many people to understand because anatomically the sexes look different in a dichotomy and not in a range of physicality. So, how is it possible that sex is a continuum and not the dichotomy that our anatomy would imply? Because the organs that we use to reproduce are not the only parts of our sexuality. Sexuality is a brain thing more than an anatomical thing. In your brain, sexuality exists on a continuum and not as a binary thing. As humans, we can have an attraction to others in a continuous range from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual and to all attractions in-between.
The Pride Parade is announcing this continuum and this complexity. Wrapping your head around this truth can be hard. However, if you think about it, most things about humans exist on a continuum. Our physical features are on a continuum. Even identical twins have subtle differences that enable us to tell them apart. Our personalities are on a continuum. We are unique, and typically we enjoy and take pride in that uniqueness. As we accept this fact that sex is on a continuum and that our brains show us where we land on that continuum, we will be better able to accept the range of sexuality just like we accept the range of physical appearance and personality differences.