Updated: Apr 7, 2019
You were born with expectation. Hell, if you were born in this century, odds are your parents even threw a party to find out your sex, immediately popping open this pandoras box of illusions and anticipations with that confetti canon. So when we talk about people wanting to be defined by something other than any of those expectations they were pigeon-holed into, we talk about something that each and every one of us has had to struggle with. Being transgendered is no different. I hate to break it to you, but they have been among us for centuries. Casually blending in: walking, dressing, even talking like us! Gasp! And contrary to what you may think, this is no longer about people being too sensitive. I’ve heard it said so many times that we have all become so soft, we have pampered our kids and created places where kids are committing suicide because of a little bullying. That we are all too politically correct and need a good ass-whooping to toughen us right up. Because that’s what you got. And, let me guess… you turned out all-right. That is the single most damaging phrase in the history of history. The fact that we were barely able to make it out of traumas like being taught that kids are for looking at not for listening to, or that you never tell a boy who asks you to be his girlfriend “yes”- you either say “no” or “let me think about it”, that is no reason to try to duplicate the experience. We don’t get to make the same terrible mistakes that generations before us have made because we were able to work past it. You don’t make your employees deliver babies in a cotton field and send them back out the next morning with the baby in tow, you don’t whip your kids until bloody so they learn to be polite because it was done to you and you “turned out ok”. We do better. And we stop making excuses for why we are not doing better.
Let’s have a quick break down of definitions here: sex is usually defined as either the male or female chromosomal designation of a species, especially as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions (more correctly, the spectrum of genders); so basically, your genitals and your blood. Gender is the state of accepting male or female gender roles in reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. Gender has to do with what is happening in your mind, your heart and your soul. Sex has to do with what is happening on your body. It makes sense that these are commonly confused but when you start to think about the things that define you as a male/female, what do you think of?
Pause for a moment here to reflect on this.
For me, the things that make me a woman are: my intelligence, my shrewdness, how powerful I am, how beautiful I am, my ability to feel emotion, to manipulate, to create, the way I feel pleasure. I don’t even consider my vagina. Not acknowledging that and saying that women only have certain body parts is diminishing what it means to be a woman to what’s between our legs, something we had no choice about, and fight endlessly to work against. Moreover, (even innocently) claiming that a person “identifies” as male or female is itself so derogatory. Why do we have to use identification as a golden rule; I am woman because I feel woman, I think woman. My self-disclosure of being a woman does not make me any more so. I do not just proudly proclaim that I love broccoli because without doing so I would not be a broccoli lover.
We are so quick to make comments or start conversations to start to define non-cistern genders. We form opinions and curiosities. We want information. But understand that the information you seek isn’t anything other than what you already have. The idea that we define a person’s gender before birth is no more insane than designating a child as “future marine biologist” or “gay person”. And for all of those that seem to think it is an irrational idea, consider also that experiments have been done where caretakers are given information about a child’s sex being the opposite one only to watch their interactions. The results are not astounding. We treat boys and girls differently. We shape them. We continue damaging traditions because “we turned out okay”. Maybe it’s time for a philosophical shift. Maybe the campaign that destroyed the HERO act in our otherwise extremely forward-thinking city is about more than men in little girl’s bathrooms. Maybe a person who was born a male and is very much a little girl is less safe in a boys’ high school locker room than in the girls’. And maybe, just maybe, we haven’t even noticed all of the people who were born the wrong sex coming in and out of some arbitrarily divided restroom design because they were using the right bathroom all along. I’d like to propose the humble single restroom idea with a sign that reads “None of your business”. Hopefully to avoid harassment, definitely to help people who are having a difficult tummy reaction, and possibly to serve as a less-than-romantic spot for a quickie. What else can you ask for?