My relationship with gender is in a state of constant evolution; just when I think I’ve got a handle on things, something upends my previous understanding of gender, of myself, of how I interact with gender as a cultural concept. We’re living in such an exciting time for conversations about these issues and it’s so critical to make room for the myriad ways people conceptualize gender. What works for me doesn’t for another person. That doesn’t mean either of us is wrong or bad or invalid. A large part of my work in recent years has been about holding space, engaging, thinking, nibbling at the edges of borders and barriers, coming to terms with intergenerational divides and how we honor each other.
The more I think about gender in relationship to myself these days, the more anxious it makes me. This may be a consequence of living a very public life with very little room for error. We need to entertain the possibility that gender is something that can, for some people, shift over time, that as our understanding of gender changes so too may our own genders. Imagine what would happen if we gave ourselves permission to explore, to pad with little kitten paws about this rough and tumble world of ours. Imagine what would happen if we respected each other as autonomous beings and spent less time minding other people’s genders and more time living our best lives.
Much of my praxis is rooted in this: Acknowledging our myriad, diverse, and beautiful identities. Giving myself permission to be myself, to avoid comparing myself to others or suggesting that others should inhabit my personal preconceptions of what gender is, should and shouldn’t look like. Busting myths. Holding a fierce, protective tenderness for my trans and gender nonconforming siblings, taking a sledgehammer to the confines the world has built around us in the hopes that the next generation can walk across a field of flowers, not a grey expanse littered with jagged concrete and broken glass.
Committed misanthrope, dedicated scarf enthusiast, and crazy cat person
Genderqueer/No thank you!