I will be the first to admit that I do not understand what it means to be transgender. I love being a woman and have no desire to be a man. While I do have a strong personality and a lot of dominate traits that are labeled masculine and have even been called butch there is nothing about being a man that appeals to me except maybe peeing standing up without having to pull down my pants.
I have known or been around people that are transgender my entire adult life. They have been few and far between. Many of them have been male to female but in more recent years I have met a few female to male individuals that are now in my circle of friends. It does seem to me that this is a more widely spoken about and experienced than twenty or even ten years ago and I do have to wonder why this is. Is it a fad? Or is it just people try to find out who they are? And how can one tell? Especially when it comes to children? I have all these questions, and I think they are questions many people want to ask but are afraid to ask for fear of getting the smack down instead of just wanting to have honest dialogue.
I will tell you that it is hard for me to use proper pronouns if I have known someone for a long period of time as one thing and then that changes. And its even more difficult for me if the person looks a particular way. I get aggravated that some allies and transgender individuals get defensive and pissy about this. This is something I am working through and I know, before the hate mail and comments come, that its harder for the trans individual than for me but I don’t think it does anyone any favors to berate people for using the wrong pronouns or learning new names to call someone.
And I am that person who will not be calling a single person “them”. Call it indoctrination or grammar dogma but they and them are plural and unless there is two or more people standing before me or Siamese twins its just not going to happen. You will not see me on board with anti-gender reveals or parenting children without gender. I don’t think we should rip something joyous and fun for the majority of couples to satisfy naysayers. Have your gender reveal parties, have your gender specific nurseries and baby clothes. I don’t think there needs to be any more division in the world over something that is really benign. And if at four your child tells you they are specific gender that doesn’t correlate to what they are physically have another gender reveal party! I’m all for having a party, with cupcakes of course.
And with all that being said I will also say that I think its important to love and accept your children, and people in general as who they are. If your children come to you and identify one way or another, I think you should honor that. If they don’t know, you should honor that as well.
But I have gotten a bit off topic, expressing my personal feelings and all and my desire to understand. The questions and comments I often here about transgender being a fad or something trendy for people to jump on the bandwagon over is what I want to address and something that I continue to address with those opposed to LGBTQ rights.
Being transgender is nothing new. In fact it is as old as time and has been part of the human experience since the start of man and it was not seen as a sin, repulsion, or anything bad but actually as a gift. Many tribal cultures and social groups recognized transgender individuals as having a “third gender” or a “third spirit”. They were honored and allowed to marry who they pleased. They were revered in spiritual circles and often thought to be seers. And even after colonization, and introduction of Christianity, gender fluidity and transgender has been a part of the human experience. It was not considered a disorder or mental illness until we had a more modern society that had been greatly influenced by the Christian religion.
It is when it became taboo, it is when it was no longer talked about, and when it was judged to be a sin worthy of hell fire that we saw transgender individuals blend into our societies, often not knowing the existed or only left wondering. I’m sure there are some teens and young people who are saying they are transgender for attention, drama, or out of rebellion, but the truth is, its not a new trend or a fad. It is just that the climate and culture has changed and science has caught up with history that allows these people to be who they are and identify as who they are.
The bottom line is that there has always been gender variance and instead of rejecting it and forcing people into one box or another we need to go back to our ancestral roots where “third gender” and “third spirit” was accepted.