"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Gender Binary

Humans have a tendency to believe in the situation they have chosen strongly.  It seems like a defense against second-guessing. Sadly, that same attitude tends to make us critical of those who make different decisions, or who are 'bucking the system', almost as though we are taking another persons choices as a personal criticism. Those who like myself who are quite clearly pushing the system to its limits feel like outcasts, sadly.

After living most of my sixty years fighting an internal war of the sexes, and acting crazy much of the time because of it, I am used to feeling like an outsider. As a pleasant change, perhaps a bi-product of the particular way I have chosen to travel this path, I have become convinced the way I am is normal, and the rest of the world is missing the mark, widely in many tragic cases. Of course, I am willing to believe I am a victim of that tendency I wrote about above.

It seems to me that the time has come for the war I fought so long against myself to be turned against the real enemy; a limitation to human growth whose usefulness is long past. Real men and real women don't have to prove anything in order to be human, but do real humans have to be either all male or all female?  

Let me speak personally first.
I have great respect for those whose life path takes them to follow the binary. If not for the binary my children would not exist; that alone is something to give thanks for. However, given other circumstances, this blog might not exist because I quite simply would have corrected a genetic defect and eliminated all evidence of maleness. Instead I chose to do everything possible to stay male and have suffered (and yes, continue to suffer) the unavoidable bouts of wrong-sex pain, sometimes greatly, and sometimes less. Ironically, that same choice has given me the gift of seeing life from a unique perspective. There is a huge difference between the person I am now and who I was when starting this blog. The change is all internal and it is about what I know and how I feel about being who I am inside. 

There is no guilt because I know who I am is not hurting anyone and not telling family and friends is simply a choice to not share a burden of secrecy, having nothing to do with whether I am good or bad, right or wrong.

I have nothing to be ashamed of, so shame is also gone. 

I do not hate myself. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Now, the strength of what is a unique way of seeing the world and of seeing my fellow travelers along the way is making me powerful in a way I never experienced before.

Moving away from the personal, "Guts... Glory... Ram" might be an innocent tagline, but how many truck commercials feature women stepping out of the cab after a day of hard work on the farm? And why not? I have nothing against Sam Elliot's voice, but it does make my point that stereotype is a marketing tool that works best when people believe strongly in the binary. When they make a commercial where a woman steps out of one of those trucks, you can be sure she will pull off her Stetson and her hair will billow out as though (you think?) she moments before stepped out of a hairdresser's chair.

There is so much more to being a man than driving a big-ass truck wearing a hat, flannel shirt and jeans with cowboy boots. 
There is so much more to being a woman than having billowing hair while wearing high heeled shoes and a little black dress. 
Nevertheless, for those who would cross the gender gap, you need to start somewhere, and there is no point in being subtle, is there? 
Little boys pretend to shave and try on daddy's Stetson. 
Little girls put on a dress and totter around wearing mommy's high heels.
There is nothing wrong with playing with gender. If the little boy wants to try out the heels, who is being hurt? I know from personal experience how it hurts the little boy when told to leave those heels alone and stop being a 'sissy'.

There is a sad reality for everyone. Wanting the clothing, or the pose, the skinny body, or the youth, or the truck, or the house; whatever it is that we have identified as being desirable is not something that promotes full humanity, but it could be part of a path to full humanity if it was treated as what it is, not some perversion.

In Allison Hope's article, with the controversial title A Penis and a Dress: Why the Gender Binary Needs to Go Away  she writes, "If we shook the very foundations of our limiting, binary-gendered society, we're likely to see a very colorful array of confident, creative, beautiful people who span the range of internal and outward gender identity and expression."

It is clear to me we cannot trust big business, or government, or our churches to help us through a critical time for humanity. Of course the media supported by the vested interests will tell you how perverted you are if you step away from that binary model they find so essential to their marketing plans. When churches and governments step in to support them the trap simply becomes stronger.

It is my belief that as a society we need to accept and develop the blend of traits and qualities that allows each unique individual to grow to their potential, risk free. 

There is too much at stake to continue to allow ourselves to be manipulated by superstition or greed.


  1. No matter who, why, when, where - manipulated to feel as an outsider scars deep and wounds need to be licked for ever. They disappear and reappear. My personal experience.

    1. You have cut to the very heart of this issue Ellena. Thank you.

  2. For myself tend to see two binaries.
    There's the two major neuro-hormonal sets which for the vast majority of people are a working reality.
    Then there are the edifices of presentation and social functions built on those.
    The first seems to me a plain and obvious fact. The second may have some validity insofar as it expresses that basic difference and thereby aids communication. Probably about 90% of it, though, seems redundant as well as arbitrary and oppressive. It may have a function as providing a grammar for gender expression but even there it's highly questionable as to whether it's really that useful.