So as an autist – Aspergers – who does not always consider the rule set of ANY culture to be locked in stone, I always figured that I was fairly assumption free.
I accept everybody as people – not as hybrid people/things.
Anyone who introduces themselves to me as a label before they use their name or who says “I am x “ right in the first sentence is off to a bad start as far as I am concerned.
So if K is a bunch of labels including liberal, gay, black, and a Pepsi drinker, I’m cool with that but if K is “a PEPSI DRINKER you Mountain Dew swilling heretic, how could you even think of swilling that trash” – then I am not okay with that.
I have friends with many labels ranging from thief to Harvard professor, but to me they are themselves, sum of their parts and not their parts and like anyone else I object to waving around parts in public.
But a recent dip into the transgender world for various reasons has left me with all sorts of questions, about myself, about our culture, about sex taboos, and about labels –
and above and beyond the purely biological.
And these were things I’d never thought of before, things I took for granted, the million and six little unspoken rules we incorporate into our day and which we never really even think about because they do not inconvenience us and because they fit within our bias.
So here are some thoughts for you, that may alter your perceptions, tickle your curiosity, and maybe make you – privileged being that you probably are, think a little more deeply.
Start with this one, for one thing, two of the trans I have been talking to about this blog, were both younger than the sexual age of consent.
Can you imagine having to worry about how to dress, how to date, which freaking bathroom to use before your gender identity is even a legal issue?
Two more are adults who transitioned later in life – that is apparently a generational thing – my generation (30+) usually makes the change after 35 according to those I’ve spoken with, whereas the Millennials seemed to be freer to come out sooner thanks to more gender-difference friendly trends in our culture.
And the questions vary with your age as well as your region, race, creed, and gender.
Which bathroom do you use? Your physical gender? Your trans gender which is the one you feel you actually are?
And what about the Mom with the toddler in the bathroom who wonders why you are sporting the Ed Hardy and Oakley/Croakies in the lady’s, or the beefy gym rat who wonders why you always sit down in the men’s?
Do you just sincerely pray for a family or unisex bathroom?
Do you hold it until you get home?
Pee in the bushes?
What do you say to your long term boyfriend when you finally realize that you can’t fake it – even for him, even for the truest of true loves? Your girlfriend?
What do you say to the people who assume you are gay? And what if you are a female and go guy and still like the boys…are you gay? Or a guy who went female who still dates the ladies? Is that person gay?
Or are you gay if you date the gender your new sex would be interested in?
And what about the little stuff?
Like why women are not expected to know the ages of the boys they are talking to and guys ask within the first few minutes?
What about the different ways girls talk to one another and guys talk to one another?
What about shaving? Do you just stop shaving in one place and shave somewhere new?
Or that women can hit guys in public and that is considered funny, but a guy hitting a guy or a guy hitting a woman is a bad scene?
What about underwear? What do you wear? Better yet HOW do you wear it? Former dude’s first bra? Former lady’s first boxers?
How do you learn about hair gel, aftershave or perfume and makeup?
Hell, what to have for breakfast?
Or talk about at the gym?
What about your period? Hard one to explain to the rest of the “guys”?
Can you keep your pink shirt – female to male – or do you have to buy one – male to female? Do you have to stop dancing (start), stop drawing (start), play football (stop)?
What if you are dancing and Mr. Happy works loose from the binder, or you are playing tackle football and your left boob makes an appearance?
Does the girl have to wear a cup to Judo now, the gent take his off?
How do you begin, how do you endure the midpoint, who do you talk to?
What about your church? Your faith? Does God love you, hate you?
What about the laws where you live?
How are you going to tell your friends?
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TELL YOUR FAMILY?
What do you say to the little girl in the restaurant who asks about your haircut or your voice?
How do you ask?
Who do you ask?
How do you ask without coming off as an offensive twit? Or as a safety risk?
Especially if you are a complete newb or a perceived outsider?
And as someone who falls into the currently “more acceptable” label categories what are you doing to help or harm those of us in the less fortuitous categories?
As an autist – I hear the word “cure” a lot. Alan Turing experienced this – for being gay. Chemical castration despite saving millions of lives. A lot of Jews experienced a “cure” as well, at Treblinka, and Auschwitz. Blacks in the Deep South. The chronically ill everywhere. And now members of the “fringe” LGBTQ communities as well.
I’m NOT for a cure. I’m for asking questions, getting answers, and moving on with life.
And if I ruled the world – EVERYONE would use the same damn bathroom. No questions asked.