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Gender-Bender: It’s not a science experiment.

June 16, 2011

One of the reasons I enjoyed our most recent Insomnia Club post is because it took something that can be so polarized and serious (gender identity) and tried to make it more sexy and fun. I realize this could be seen as trivializing something (by telling you what I’d do if I had a dick for a day) that is far from trivial. However.

The vast majority of discussions about gender and orientation are so goddamn serious. I understand why: they’re serious freakin’ subjects (although, really? They should only be serious for the person with that orientation/preference/identity – not you. Ever wonder why you’re so threatened by someone else’s personal life?). But… they don’t have to be all the time.

Some of us nitpick and argue and throw up excuses and warped cherry-picked or straight up untrue “science” to have these oh so serious discussions. To try and make our point (take, for instance, the comments on this story). But. Do we ever stop and think about such arguments and discussions?

Ever wonder about those other people we’re alienating? Ever think that perhaps, in sterilizing discussions about identity and preference, about the very personal and significant parts of another person’s life, with why we’re right and they are wrong, we’re ignoring the bigger picture?

The more human one?

The one where we look at each other as people, not science experiments we can prove right or wrong?

In my mind, opening up the discussion, allowing it to be something that isn’t always serious and sterilized, makes it more open, more “normal” – less sterilized, more accessible. More human. Something we can start to look at in a different light.

But. I hope we don’t trivialize them in the process. These things are serious. Very very serious. So. Since I was less than serious in the last post, let me be serious for a moment.

Sure, if I woke up with a penis instead of a vagina, I wouldn’t waste time worrying about being freakish (and get down to the business of being freak-y) as long as I knew I could give it back after a certain period of time. Because I love my vagina. L-O-V-E. I would never, in a million billion years, trade her in for the alternative model. Nor would I trade being a woman in for being a man. These are fundamental attributes of my person. Of who I am. Of what makes me happy and healthy and content is being able to function as such in my daily life. Similar sentiments were echoed by my fellow Insomniacs in their posts.

I hazard a guess that it’s not just us. That the vast majority of people reading this feel the same way about their gender identity.

Now. Imagine that every day you woke up, looked under the covers, and saw the wrong equipment. Every single day… and you could never give it back?

What if you were forced to exist in this world as the gender you did not identify with? What if your social education was for the gender that you fundamentally believed was wrong?

And then, understand how it would be to try and make a change? The incredible honesty and bravery it takes to change your body, to embrace your true self… despite the enormous difficulties that poses, both in terms of logistics, but also in terms of societal stigma? Prejudice? Fear? Hate? And trying to learn to exist in the world with none of the social education on how to behave as a particular gender that we all receive, from the moment we’re born? How to teach yourself to be the gender you were born to be? Regardless of your sex?

Please, for me, leave behind any thought processes that say something like “well, that wouldn’t happen because you associate with the sex you’re born with.” Just drop that bullshit and any other argument you’d like to use. Just imagine, just for now, what it might be like.

Just for a moment. Let go of any science or argument or excuse. Any prejudice or ew that’s creepy feelings you might harbor deep in your heart. Without sterilizing it, without trivializing it. Just how you would feel if it were you.

Imagine. Find compassion. Find understanding. Find empathy.

Happy Transgender Pride Month. Much love.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2011 11:11 am

    Good point. Sure it’s all fun and games pretending but you make a valid observation. Gender issues are something that societies have to look at seriously. Without puting on blinders caused by bias or religious ideology.

    • June 22, 2011 12:18 pm

      Exactly. We get so bogged down with these terrible arguments, trying to make us “right”. We rarely stop to think about the people (YES PEOPLE) who are actually struggling with this. I realize some would prefer us not think of them as human (practically), and sterilizing the argument with junk science certainly helps. We hardly ever discuss it in a more human and compassionate way – and the people in the discussion are hardly ever gender-questioning. Or even know someone who is.

  2. June 16, 2011 2:58 pm

    It’s a head-wrecker. I do think it is near to impossible to imagine yourself in that situation but even the little bit that we can imagine… whoa… messes with your head. It is a serious issue but as you point out sometimes in order to look at something we need to be able to play a bit and then things will all the sudden be easier to grasp.

    • June 22, 2011 12:19 pm

      Yes – I do think at least attempting to think about things in less serious arenas can be helpful, as long as we don’t cross the line into trivializing them in some way. These are very serious things – but they are still very human things. Period.

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