Gender

I am a woman. I have never had doubts that I was female… or have I? There is a period in my life I do not talk about often, when I wanted to be a boy. I tried to cut off my breasts, I shaved my head, I desperately wanted to stop being female. I do identify as a female but, it was terrifying because the world hates women. This was one of the steps that lead me to know that persons who are born transgendered, inter-gender, or even without a gender (links to Norrie and Clair Lewis) are born that way.

This period helped me to deal with my struggle when I realized I am bisexual. I actually have a stronger preference for women than men. I often joke that this is because women taste better, to lighten the mood if I am outed. I live mostly in the closet, because my community is in accessible and I am fearful. Also, because of my mother’s reaction the first time I told her. She told me I was instantly a whore. I was slut shamed, I was told I was a liar, and I went with it because I had no recourse.

I admire anyone who lives with their sexual identity and gender identity in the open when it does not match up with the lie of Gender Binary. I have many friends who are between the two pegs that privilege reigns with in. I admire the strenght it takes just to be yourself when there is little to no protection for you in this world and your gender or lack there of makes you a target. That must be beyond terrifying.

I just did my census form, and there were only two check boxes. I secretly hope that those who do not identify as female or male make their own box. This of course may cause issues later but, the fact is, if you don’t fit in the little box then make your own!

This post is in honor of the 11th Annual Transgendered Remembrance day. This link is to a blog called Deeply Problematic, a blog with a series of other links about today and this issue and this link is to the memorial.

I find it striking how many of our brothers and sisters did not have a photo. Something about that strikes me. The lack of photo mirrors a lack of acceptance.

I light a candle and the candle is for each loss we know of, and the many we do not. I light a candle so that no one forgets your murder.

One persons Courage…

You hear about it in the news, inspirational articles, and in the whispers of people discussing someone’s life. Sometimes you hear it to your face. “You are so courageous.” I have been facing my fears lately and there has been some courage yet, most of what people tell me is courage is merely a will to live. Is the Will to Live what makes us couragous? Does this invalidate courage?

When I hear about someone being courageous, brave, or something along that line the picture in my mind is a bit gender normative and sexist. It’s a brave soldier in a black and white movie with bombs exploding behind him rescuing the little woman and running away from gunfire without breaking a sweat. I am well aware this is a very skewed image that remains in my mind. I use this image to invalidate my own experience often.

How can I be courageous? I just didn’t give up. I didn’t notice it until tonight. Giving the speech about my Thirty Seconds, I was reminded it is courageous to save a life. I found myself afraid of those words. Why fear courage? I think it is the responsibility to be something more than human that the media shows us courage is. Batman is couragous. He’s a super hero. I am just a small and broken woman at the end of her endurance trying to make it through every day.

I am trying to teach myself what courage can be, beyond the black and white John Wayne dreams. I am trying to teach myself that courage is simply living. Transgendered people who have the courage to go through the change, to live in the sex that fits their minds and not their bodies are courageous because it is their will to live. They can die for being who they are.

How terrifying it must be to have to pee in public. How terrifying it must be to go clothes shopping, to go out and feel that fear… what if someone figures out who they are and in their ridiculous hatred they attack? That is courage. It is also horribly sad that we live in a world where it is not a hate crime to attack a trans individual. I didn’t know that until recently, I thought that it was a hate crime. It should be. Living without a legal saftey net, living without basic human respect, and living without the ability to be accepted by any other minority (except for some of us who actually do care) takes courage. There are trans persons who are unable to live as they wish, because it is too dangerous.

It takes courage to live at all. It takes courage for the college student to go to her late night class, because she hears all the warnings about rape. It takes courage for the woman who was date raped to speak up, risking victim blaming and slut shaming. It takes courage for the teen mother to take pride in being a mother, bucking against the stereotypes about teen mothers. It takes courage for the disabled man to go up a flight of stairs on his hands and knees to see if his able bodied friends and family are alright after hearing a gunshot. He couldn’t escape if there was a killer. That is courage.

To revile the word courage is to revile the act of living. It takes courage for our students to go to school. We live in a world where the terror of school shootings is very real, where the hate that a disabled student feels can destroy their minds and their souls. We live in a world where there is no safe haven. It takes courage to raise a child with disabilities and to love them. It takes courage to admit that you are disabled.

It takes courage to say that you do not want to see a movie because it is full of sexism. It takes courage to be a Womanist. It takes courage to be a Feminist. It takes courage to be an advocate. It takes courage to write. It takes courage to cry. It takes courage to go out, knowing discrimination is waiting for you. It takes courage to date a person who is of another color. It takes courage to love someone who is of the same sex.

In a world as full of toxic messages, it is cowardly to defame courage. To hold the power to inspire one person is enough to change the world. To inspire countless thousands? That is a gift unparalleled. Forgive me for feeling that I was unworthy of the word courage.

I have been courageous. I am courageous to write about my time as a Victim. I am courageous to have ideas and to share them. I am courageous to start a business during a Depression.

You are courageous too. I am sure you can list ways you are courageous. I would like the comments on this post to be dedicated to your courage. What have you done that is courageous today?

Today my act of courage is to start planning the wedding ceremony for two young women in love. My acts of courage in life will include officiating their wedding ceremony. I do this with pride, and to honor their love and the courage it takes to stand up and proudly say, “I am Gay, I am Pagan, and I am in Love!”

Thank you for your life. Thank you for your courage.

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