In the beginning of Transgender Care people thought that there were two genders: male and female. Transgenders were seen as females-in-males-bodies or males-in-female-bodies. (Some) transgenders were seen as people between male and female: the gender continuum was born.
It then became clear that there were more possibilities to be female and more possibilities to be male:
Some studies even implied that male and female were less different than males differ from males and females differ from females: the continuum was not just a space for transgender people but also for people who had no transgender feelings:
This is one step before the gender cloud:
In 1997 Paul Vennix' book "Travestie in Nederland en Vlaanderen" she(*) described two lines instead of one: a line for male (0-100%) and a line for female (0-100%). She discovered that there these percentages didn't always add up to (about) 100%: there were transgender people who felt 20% male and 20% female, there were also people who felt 80% male and 80% female.
Gender fluidity is for some people hard to understand, but gender fluidity does exist. People can (gender-wise) for example feel different on different moments of the day (week, year). This might be dependent of the environment (work vs holiday), it might also differ to the mood (happy vs depressed), the weather or the time of day. Feeling more-male does not by definition feel worse than feeling less-male or more-female (vv).
Gender is multi-dimensional: on this poster we will look at gender expression (how does one look), gender role (how does one behave), gender identity (how does one describe oneself) and body parts. There are lots of other gender-related issues: social (f.e. toilets), colors (f.e. blue vs pink), humor, inclusion/exclusion by other people, etc.
Gender is personal. This is not just true for transgender people: we assume that when there are 17 million people living in the Netherlands, there are at least 16.5 million different genders. We cannot rule out that there will be some people who have the same feelings when it comes to gender, but we do know that that will not be many people. Transgender people often feel different, though they need (sometimes) the same medical help.
Because there are many definitions about gender and transgenders are very sure that there is just one right definition (their own), people identify the way they think is best. We searched for a model that would suit us all. The gender cloud is not that model: some people like to keep their feet on the ground, other people like the sun more than the cloud. We don't mind. The gender cloud is a model that may help to keep away from the binary or continuum way of thinking about gender. Gender is by far more complicated than that...
(*) Paul is living as Paula since 2014, so the rest of the text will refer to Paula/she/her instead of Paul/he/his. The only reason I refer to Paula as Paul is because the book "Travestie in Nederland en Vlaanderen" was written under her male-name.