Why are we afraid of giving “girl toys” to little boys? Why don’t we have those same fears about giving little girls “boy toys?” Delene van Dyke, a sexuality and gender diversity educator from South Africa, explains how all of that has to do with the way we tend to put everything into binary categories. This or that. Either this or that. Black or white. Boy or girl. Gay or straight.
And what about the labels of “gay or straight?” Are those categories even as simple a label as they seem? For example, particular sexual behaviors, like receiving anal stimulation during sex have been identified as quintessential marks of male homosexuality. But many men who identify as straight also enjoy varying degrees of anal stimulation. Does that mean that they are secretly gay, or that human sexuality is more nuanced and complex than we’ve been led to believe? The problem, as she brilliantly has shown, is that we’ve conflated what really should be separate phenomena – gender, sexual identity, body parts, and sexual behavior.
This episode may help you understand more of the “whys” behind some of our society’s biggest social issues right now. And, as Delene says on the show, once you know the why, the how–particularly how to effect positive change–will often take care of itself. It’s usually when people step outside of their binary boxes that the magic happens.
Delene van Dyke is a nurse therapist and nurse educator by profession, with more than 20 years’ experience in the field of mental health, sexual health and education.She runs her own consultancy, 2nd Sight Consultants, focusing on training, development and mentorship of individuals and groups, to understand human sexuality, specifically sexual and gender diversity, better and integrating it with Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights work. Her work includes the prevention of HIV and Gender-Based Violence, and consultation to various governments, NGOs and private institutions in Africa and internationally. At the World Association of Sexual Health Congress in Singapore, July 2015, the training modality, Binaries & Boxes (or Not!) was acknowledged as groundbreaking in understanding gender and sexual identity, diversity and fluidity. She also works as part of the multidisciplinary team in specialized sex-positive sexual health private practice, facilitating in increased understanding of sexual and gender diversity for clients and colleagues.