Hello everyone, I know it's been a while since I've been here, but as can often happen, Life takes over and time becomes something you don't seem to have any control - but thankfully, I'm experiencing a brief pause and so came here. I hope you're all well and not too caught up in the festive madness just yet. The theme for today's post came from a recent conversation I had about how people identify themselves which is not a quandary I have faced in my own life but has certainly become a major issue for many others. From what I understand, there can often be a degree of being dismissive or even ridiculing someone who is struggling to understand themselves when it comes to gender identity - I want no part in making anyone feel 'wrong' in their quest for resolution, so hence this post...
Let me begin by saying, I have always enjoyed being a woman, if it were a suit of clothes, it fits me perfectly. I grew up in a time when it was deemed acceptable to refer to women as 'the weaker sex', which was undoubtedly one of the reasons the womens' movement began. Women are not weak, there can be no question, some men are always going to be physically stronger but that's where it ends when it comes to strength between the sexes. I have always felt both men and women have their qualities which should be appreciated, although their roles in society are far less defined than perhaps they once were, which is largely a good thing. I have to say, I do disagree with the more extreme views some hold, that one is somehow superior to the other - it genuinely saddens me to hear women attempt to emasculate men, just as it does when I hear a man treat a woman as little more than an ornament. I would hope those out-dated views soon become a thing of the past and we can all appreciate and respect each other. But I am well aware, for an increasing number of people, their gender identity is not so clear cut, in fact, for some, they do not wholly identify with being either. They feel trapped in the wrong body, they know in their hearts they are one but their reflection shows them to be the other. It must be a hard and frustrating part of your life to feel somehow out of place, especially something as defining as how you identify to the world.
I readily admit, when I have seen the lists of possible gender identities, I have felt total confusion, so I can only imagine what it must be like for those going through this process. But, as always, they have my complete support as they find their way, and I have nothing but condemnation for those who criticise or attempt to demean. Unfortunately, I have seen a similar kind of prejudice before, when those who identified as gay were treated with suspicion and derision. I saw people hurt, both physically and emotionally by the callous ignorance of others who frankly should have known better. As I've already said, I cannot pretend to be fully cognisant of all the possible gender identities, but the onus is on me to try - it is not for those in this situation, to have to 'prove' anything', least of all, that their struggle is a real one. I am aware, many have reached the point where they know who and what they are, they have found their way through this particular maze and have emerged triumphant, comfortable in their own skin and I wish them nothing but well. My sincere wish for those who might still feel slightly lost, is they never feel alone.
But what of their parents ? Well, I have watched many documentaries and had multiple conversations on this subject and it's blindingly apparent, there seem to be roughly three groups. The first are parents who flatly refuse to believe their child is anything but what they expected it to be, i.e. if they gave birth to a girl, she would grow up, get married, provide grandchildren and live a 'normal' life. On the other hand, if they had a boy, he would grow into a 'fine' man who would have several girlfriends before finding the 'right one' whereupon he would settle down and have a family. Now you may be thinking those opinions should have died out long ago, but they are very much alive for some people. After all, there are so many incidences of children being thrown out of the family home when it becomes clear they are not going to be what was wanted - a reflection of entrenched ignorance with a heavy dose of 'what will people think' added for good measure. (As a parent myself, I cannot even begin to imagine throwing my children out because of who they are - but that's just my opinion). So, the second group, well despite the fact they don't entirely understand the gender identity question, they fiercely defend their child against any detractors. I suppose it could be argued, they shouldn't be fighting for a cause if they have no real idea what it means, but I think that's unfair. It should be an inescapable part of being a good parent, to protect your children, so although I might suggest they learn more, I cannot fault their deep-seated need to be on side. Finally, the third group, who have a total understanding of their children's struggle and will do anything to help them through that maze I previously mentioned. From what I've learned, this group is the smallest of the three, but hopefully, that will change with time. So where am I ? Well, I know -without question- I love my children unconditionally, so if either came to me and said they were unsure of who they are, I would try and help in any way possible. As I write those words, it sounds very simplistic but it happens to be the truth.
As an aside, I am constantly surprised by how some attitudes from the past still find their way into the minds of today's population. As an example, I have been fortunate to have received many messages through my author page from readers who have read my first book, 'Hidden Within.' So many times, I can feel their hesitancy about admitting they found the sex scenes between two of the main female characters both arousing and confusing. They prefix each statement by telling me they are 'absolutely straight' before going into a sometimes lengthy description of how they felt when they read those particular scenes. I always reply by thanking them for getting in touch before reassuring them, there is absolutely nothing wrong with how they have reacted, that they should be open about what and who they are and to never feel even the slightest degree of shame or embarrassment. Fortunately, this does seem to reassure some, but for the most part, I am asked to never tell anyone what they have shared with me. I am always left feeling an acute sadness, there is still a need for some people to hide even a small part of their 'real' selves because of the desire to conform or worse still, the fear of being 'found out.'
I am including this slight thought detour, only to reinforce my original point, however someone might identitfy themselves, we should all be supportive, replace our ignorance with knowledge and embrace the diversity of our shared human experience. As I said at the beginning of this post, despite being painfully insecure in many ways, I have never experienced any doubt about being a woman. But for those who are embarking on their own journey, I wish you nothing but good things - but especially I hope you have a moment when you look at your own reflection and see exactly who you feel you are - a beautiful soul who only adds even more colour to the world....until the next time...
Take care out there xx