Friday, July 7, 2017

Phallic Friday - transgender

I keep running across TV shows and articles about transgender lately, so it's on my mind. So often it's men transitioning to become women, and I wondered if there were women who wanted to become men, and then I saw this article here. It's about an upcoming documentary, It's Not Just Me, following the transgender process of four women, transitioning to become men.

When I was a kid, I always said I should have been a male. Being a female had no interest because I couldn't do the things I wanted to do - play sport, be an altar boy (although this may have been a godsend in hindsight), get dirty, be allowed freedom, wear shorts and trousers, play rough, pee easily in the outdoors. I had no brothers, so I didn't know what being a man was, I just saw being a woman wasn't my thing. I was as tomboy as I could be within the confines of my life - I don't think that's changed.

I can't imagine the difficulties people face when they want to change their gender. It horrifies me to think of the constant barrage of rejection and question and negativity they have to face.

As a young teen, I remember Dad working in a position where he had a transgender employee. I was a kid with big ears, so I doubt he told me the problems, but I have no doubt about overhearing his conversations with others and embellishing these with my imagination. In thirty odd years, society's views haven't changed much about gender reassignment and identity.

I think the most difficult issue Dad faced was over toilet use. As a kid, this seemed ludicrous to me - at home we all used the same loo, what was the difference?

I can see now that there is much behind the bathroom issue and it's not as simple as a bathroom issue. It has a lot of fear and misunderstanding behind it. Fear, because so often unwanted/seedy sexual encounters happen in bathrooms/toilet blocks. As a kid I was warned never to use the toilets at a park or public place on my own. Never go to the bathroom alone is drummed into women, with the inference being that 'bad things' happen to those who disobey. It's like monsters under the bed - except worse. So these fears are carried over when a transgender person wants use of a bathroom that they 'shouldn't' be in. And then the misunderstanding of who transgender people are and want to be, adds to these fears.

Society seems to view anyone as different, as dangerous.

I keep coming back to this, but openness and education is, I think, the way to change these perceptions and biases and fears.

If only we could talk about these issues, openly and freely.

If only we didn't want to box people into confined squares and stick labels on them.

If only we could allow people to live their life, accept their choices (especially when they pose no harm to others).

I think this sums it up beautifully. It comes from Simon, and is a quote from the article:

"At the end of the day people have their own opinions and religions and beliefs and whatever else and that's absolutely fine.
"But I'm not upsetting anyone by being who I am, it doesn't matter, I'm just being me, and I think everybody in the world should have that freedom to be who they want to be — we're all human."

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