Let’s get this straight from the beginning: gender does not refer to your genitals. The term gender was popularized around the 80s by feminists to describe the social roles of men and women. Since then, the use of the term gender replaced the term sex in many uses, but does not designate the same reality.
With the steady growth of radical feminism in the past decades, the academic and governmental institutions have become perfectly aligned with the radical feminist dogma. They have ceased to use one’s genitals as a determinant of behavior, and have begun using one’s perception of their own social role instead. It’s ok to be confused. When referring to biological characteristics, gender is one of many misnomers in science. In scholarly publications, you might be asked by the editor to use the term gender even when referring to biological characteristics.
So far, we established that gender refers to an individual’s perceived social role, not one’s genitals. Now, let’s explore why there are more than two genders.
First, by definition, gender is whatever you identify as. You are entirely free to identify yourself as anything. This is not to say that there are more than two sexes (obligatory mention that 1/2,000 people are born with an intersex condition [excluding transgenders, that’s not an intersex condition]). The statement that there are many genders does not mean that everyone isn’t either male or female.
If I was an authority in the social sciences, and decided that using the term natural identity would refer to the animal species I identify as, I would be entirely free to do so. You would be entirely wrong to convince me that there is only one natural identity. That wouldn’t change the reality that you are a biological human, whether you like it or not.
The second reason is that social roles are much more flexible and non-binary than your genitals. While gender roles do have biological correlates, traits and activities are not necessarily pertaining to one sex. Take a stereotypical masculine activity as an example, let’s say MMA fighting. While MMA might speculatively have biological correlates, such as testosterone, nature doesn’t make it a male activity, our social perception of the activity does. If a girl would do MMA occasionally, she would then adopt what we defined as a male social role. As such, said person might call herself gender fluid, because she alternates between male and female social roles.
In the end, everytime you talk about someone’s gender, you refer to a person’s social role. Saying that there are only two genders would speak against the very definition of the word gender. It would also mean that all traits and activities pertain to one sex, and that everyone would either adopt a fully male/female pattern of behavior.
There are many genders.
But there are only two sexes.