So I’ve been contemplating gender a lot lately. I don’t just think about how gender is defined and what that means, but I am also contemplating what gender identity means and specifically what it means to me. Along with all of this comes words and their meanings and labels, of course. All of these things can be very confusing, but I think that everything is about our own individual, personal experiences.
I have joined an LGBTQIQ group and they are very accepting of me. I feel safe and comfortable with them. It is awesome to learn and hear about other people’s experiences. It is awesome to know that I am with people who understand. There are still questions, of course, because we are all different, but there is at least that underlying understanding of experiencing being different. One of the things that I do not like is how political things can become. Sometimes it seems we are just comparing notes on whose experience is more difficult. We all have difficult experiences, no matter where you fall into this world of labels and words. We are all people we are all capable of feeling and thinking.
All of our experiences are valid. All of our truths are our own and no one elses. You have to try and live your own truth and be true to who you believe you are. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do. I know that I struggle with it. But I also know that I have a strong support network of friends, family and loved ones that accept me for who I am. I love all my friends and family for trying to understand what I am going through. I apperciate all that they do to make me feel accepted and give me words of encouragment. There is one young lady in particular that is always a source of inspiration and love for me. She is my biggest cheerleader and her support means so much. She is a great ally!
So, sometimes gender just doesn’t make sense to me. What is a boy what is a girl? Aren’t those concepts and labels what we make them? I can understand what male and female are, but concepts like boy and girl sometimes ellude me. Uncomprehensible at this point are concepts like man and woman. I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to get my head around them. I don’t know if people have noticed, but I seldom use man and woman in my speech at this point, because those concepts confuse me. I use terms like boy, girl, dude, lady, gentleman, friend… I like that term a lot. Friend: such a simple word that means so much.
So there are labels that I like to apply to myself. I like the term Queer. I think that is empowering, somehow. It is a word I can look to and feel secure that I know at least to some degree what my identity is. A lot of other people I have met in the LGBTQIQ community seem to cling to terms of distinction that apply to others not in the community. The term I hear a lot is CIS. I don’t like this term. Sure, it means the opposite of Trans as its literal definition, but it has gained the same negatice connotation that Queer had before it was reclaimed by the community.
I know that my friend, my biggest cheerleader, she doesn’t like that term. So I don’t use that term around her. I try not to use it at all, because I don’t really care for it either, but I certainly try my hardest not to apply it to her, because it is not her term. It is not how she identifies. I think that if I am going to have the freedom and right to decide what I wish to be called then so should everybody. I don’t care about the politics of it or who has privelage or any of that. That is just lawyer talk. This is life. It’s not something that is happening in a vacuum or a labratory. It is not occuring in a science book.
It is living and breathing. It is sharing our experiences. It is trying to understand. It is about trying to love one another. It is about trying to help one another. I think it should be my duty to be just as good of an ally for her as she is for me. Sometimes I know that I fail at that. But I am trying to be better. So the best I can say is that you should tell the people that you love, that you love them. And moreover you should love the people that don’t love you. You should try to let them understand, because there are a lot of people willing to understand, but there are things they don’t know about. How can they know what they do not know? I hope you feel like I do, because then maybe we can make this place better and more liveable for us all. Maybe then we can start to make this a place where all lives are important and all experiences are valid. Anyways, I love you!