Probably politically incorrect

When I was in college Villette was an assigned text in one class. There was a passage that to me was an example of the deep, romantic friendships so common at that time, but to the rest of the class it was a lesbian relationship that was being referenced.  We never did resolve that, but it's something I've thought about over the years, which is probably why this thread caught my attention:

Reading the comments shows that people really disagree with his theory, claiming he's homophobic, etc.. I don't know him or his views on homosexuality but in this case I think he's on to something.  And it leads to another thought I've been having, that of gender identity.  

Over the past 20 years several students (an increasing number) have identified as gender fluid or nonbinary, and some have even transitioned from one gender to another.  Now, I know that there are many who really do feel trapped in the wrong body and I can't imagine the pain they have until they can emerge as the person they're supposed to be.  That's not what I'm talking about here.  What I am talking about are those who feel as though they don't fit in to one gender or the other.

There's this article that cites a study showing that [m]ore than 1 million nonbinary adults live in the U.S. I wonder if some of that is due to how strictly we've defined gender and gender roles (from the must-be-stopped Gender Reveal Party to gendered clothing and toys to, well, you get the picture).  My mother was a tomboy, much to her mother's dismay (my grandmother wanted my 12-13 year old mother to wear lipstick!).  Today, would she have identified as gender fluid in her childhood/teens? 

Would the nonbinary/gender fluid feel more comfortable if it was acceptable for anyone to wear a dress or skirt (just as it took a while for it to be acceptable for women to wear pants)?  What makes it such a problem if a male is emotional or artistic?  If the behaviors and clothing we've been socialized to associate with one or the other gender were simply behavior and clothing, would that really be such a horrible thing?  All this isn't to suggest that I want to get rid of the "nonbinary" label, but a question about what is causing all the discomfort and wanting to make things easier for my students (and colleagues) to navigate their lives.

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