Gia, a 14-year-old transgender student, wanted a fresh start at her new campus as she prepared to move from middle school to high school. To get the process going, she wrote a letter to the entire school announcing her plans to transition to living as a girl.
“The father of two knew nothing about transgender children – yet. The new book about his family, Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family (out October 20), chronicles Wyatt’s journey to Nicole. “
“With headlines left and right that churn my stomach, it’s rare to find good seeds in the madness of the world. Especially when you are born transgender. To me that word hardly describes who I am, or what I want to be. It is limiting in the sense that we are humans, capable of reaching the stars and back, not just the labels we wear. I think that resonates for many of us, and it’s why I felt compelled to create this list in the first place. The people on this list are in no particular order, and this is in no way a competition or a comparison.”
(Via. Huffington Post)
This world so often leaves me feeling as if I am a child. So naive and lacking in understanding. Do as your told, not as we do. Be silent, listen, and learn. Not to yourself; not to your heart, but to those outside yourself. Those who know you better than you can ever know yourself. A world which insists on conformity while preaching individuality. Which seeks to reduce us to our most base common denominators, ignoring the very uniqueness it claims to embrace.
From our earliest memories, from even before really, we are bombarded by the hopes, dreams, and expectations of those closest to us. We are adorned in pink or blue before we have drawn our first breath. Not just in the colors themselves but all they represent in our culture today. Who we will be as children, adolescents, young adults. As responsible citizens of a place we may not want or understand.
We are given examples of behavior, of mannerisms, of dress, actions, and interests which are acceptable for us. On television, in the movies, in books, magazines, billboards, and packaging of every kind. This for boys, that for girls and God help the ones who wish to walk a different path. Oh,there are some exceptions, minor little blips which can be over looked; if eventually your willing to fall into line. Just be sure to stay within the lines even as you seek to rebel.
Even with all of this, people still cling to the illusion of open mindedness, understanding, and acceptance even while they perpetuate the very prejudice they claim to abhor.
“For the rule applies to everyone but me.”
There are times I wonder who is truly naive, me for thinking the world can be changed or them for thinking it already has?
One thing I am quickly coming to understand about myself is just how much I despise labels. They are fine for “things” like cans of soup but are terrible when used for people.
I want my food to have labels. I want my clothes to have labels. I want my cleaning products to have labels.
I don’t want people to be labeled.
It’s bad enough that as soon as we are born a doctor or midwife slaps a label on us. Marking us for life before we have any say about who we are. Of course this makes things easy for our parents, Grandparents and all those friends and family members who buy things for the new “little princess” or “little slugger”. It means that companies can sell lots of things in pink and blue, yellow and green. It means as we get older companies will be happy to sell Barbie dolls and G.I. Joe action figures.
In the mean time people will see us out and about and exclaim “He’s so handsome!” or “She’s a little cutie!” and they will stand around with our proud parents ginning like idiots.
But what happens when the “little man” doesn’t act like a one? When he tries to tell people he’s not really a boy at all?
What happens when the “little princess” tells people she’s really a boy?
What happens indeed…
Unfortunately what often follows is years of denials. Years of “correction”. Years of self doubt, confusion, fear and pain. Too often it ends with a child on the streets or dead. It ends with a shattered family, broken lives.
It ends in sorrow and pain, in accusations, disgust and hatred.
All because of labels. Because not everyone can conform to the boundaries of expectation.
If your part of “”normal” society, part of the “majority” then these are things you really don’t have to think about. For you, all the things that I and others like myself have to think about are taken for granted. Of course there are things about labels that affect you as well, and some times you will actually think about them, sometimes you might even complain about them, and maybe, just maybe, you might be moved to protest them. But more often than not, you will live your life without really feeling their weight.
Male and female, Man and woman. These labels have a clear and understood meaning when you don’t have Gender issues. When you wake up in the morning and don’t think twice about the body your in.
Do I need to point out how much misunderstanding and ridicule, how much discrimination and violence arise out of these labels? If you are part of the “normal” crowd you don’t have to think every day about someone beating you or maybe killing you because of the way you present yourself.
(I need to note here I am not speaking of violence against women. That is a terrible thing in and of itself and I cannot speak loudly enough against it.) The issue is violence against someone who presents as female, even though they may still have a male body underneath, not because someone thought they were attacking a woman, but because they were attacking someone they knew to be Trans. That the attack occurred precisely because they are Trans. How many news articles are there reporting another Transwoman who was beaten or killed? How many times are the perpetrators excused for their actions? How many times are the victims portrayed as deserving of their fate because they were Trans? Too many. So many there is a day of remembrance.
Then there is Heterosexual and Homosexual. Even though these labels deal with sexual preference, how many times are they confused with or added to any discussion of Trans issues? After all, how can you not be gay if your wearing women’s clothing? How could you not be a lesbian if you want people to think your man when your clearly a woman? As to violence and discrimination, they are well documented and I could write about that alone for years.. The good news is that things are changing. Slowly yes, but changing. As more time goes along, more and more of society will be accepting and those who are intolerant and hateful will be condemned for their actions. There is a growing body of legal protections. Discrimination in employment, housing, and services, while not a thing totally of the past, are slowly fading.
Not so if your Trans. There are very few protections at all right now. Attacks aren’t considered Hate Crimes. You can lose your job, your home all because you don’t present the way others think you should.
And then we get to the issue of being Transgender. Under this “umbrella” term are many labels. To say that it is confusing is a major understatement. Even people who identify as Trans in general are often at a loss as to what additional label best describes them.
I am going to try and do a post just about the Transgender umbrella as it is a very involved subject deserving its own post.
Let me end this by saying that I believe that labels do nothing more than hurt everybody. No matter if your in the majority or in the minority. They do nothing but cause division and strife. As someone pointed out to me; in the end we are all human and that is all that matters.