TW: use of the word genitals (but not talking about actual genitals)
Twice this past week I was in conversation with cisgender people, both well-intentioned, who referred to genitals in their exchange with me, which makes me “officially” trans! Woot!
I want to talk to cisgender people about why they shouldn’t do this, and I want to talk to non-cis people about how we can survive these dehumanizing moments.
People who say this often do so from a place of good intentions. “I don’t care what genitals a person has,” said one person to me, meaning, of course, I accept everyone as they are. In the second instance, I was in conversation with a parent who loves their child dearly and who is trying really, really hard to understand what it means that their child is non-binary. They said in our conversation, “I saw them being born, everything was there…” by which they may have meant any one or all of these things: there was no...
It's springtime here in Tiohtià:ke, aka Montreal, and flowers are on my mind. So are stories.
In the academic world we call stories 'narratives.' Narratives explain all sorts of things, including the process of coming out. The story goes like this: we are confused and unhappy because we don't fit in and then one day we discover who we are, and from that moment on we are flooded with a deep sense of relief and exhilaration. Next, we come out to the world by telling others who we really are.
The thing is, narratives can also limit how we understand things, including ourselves. I am having a lot of trouble relating to the idea that I "really am" something. I don't have the words to describe what exactly it is I am feeling because there is no narrative, no story for it. At least not that I know. Yet.
We need to invent new narratives.
That's what Gender Mentors is for me -- a place where we can write ourselves into our own lives and...
It’s a cliché, but it’s true:
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Sometimes it’s the first step that is the hardest of all. So hard, in fact, that many of us never dare take it.
But you have.
And I have.
We are here. We are figuring things out. We are feeling our way home to ourselves, and to each other.
Happily, the internet makes finding other non-binary people pretty easy to do. And that matters. I was recently at a conference on trans experience and history, and at least one youth participant lamented that knowing our history is not always helpful because it is full of sad stories. It's true. Our history is littered with tales of loneliness and isolation.
It doesn't have to be that way.
I am deeply grateful for the possibility of loving connection the internet provides those of us who are too often living in exile from family, friends, and community. I sit in awe of the...