Friday, September 11, 2015

LGBT and ... G?

I don’t like labels. There, got that off my chest! Phew! But I realize that we DO live in a world of labels. As unfortunate as it is, every human being on this planet has some kind of label hanging over their heads. “White.” “Black.” “Fat.” “Thin.” “Smart.” “Slow.” “Christian.” “Jew.” And there are lots others: “Rich” and “Handicapped” and “Lesbian” and "Scientist."

We humans use labels on things in order to prevent chaos. It's a way of identifying and socializing with each other. The kind of people who love to organize EVERYTHING with label-makers in order to know where everything is come to mind. In a way, we are all labeled as such in order to be allocated to some mental group or another. “Oh, that’s my gay friend.” “Oh, that’s my Christian friend.” “Oh, that’s my super-hottie friend.” We don’t say these labels out loud but it’s how we recognize other people, because these “invisible labels” are a part of their identity. It is who they are and we must recognize them as such. It is how we know not to expect them to understand a language, a term or an experience because we know they do not speak Japanese, they do not work in the scientific field or they are not a parent. After all, it would be inappropriate to expect a Jewish friend to participate in Christmas activities, right? So, we have these labels to acknowledge a person’s identity and relate to them in due order.

I myself have labels. I am “handicapped” because I am deaf and I have a physical disability on account of my left hand. I am a “stay-at-home mom” because I am currently unemployed. I am a “college dropout” because I didn’t finish college. (And right about here, I’m thinking that at least some labels are not permanent. After all, I was once a Christian – and labeled as much – but I am no longer a Christian.)

Now, all of that said, I began to think about something my daughter has been going through lately. (I’ll talk more about that after I have more information.) And I was struck with a question: Is there a difference between transgender and genderfluid? (Again, totally related to something going on today!)  I spoke about “genderfluid” in a previous blog post so if you’re not sure on what it is, have a read. When I had that question, I started digging around on the Internet to find an answer. I didn’t want to ask one person. I didn’t want to post this question on Facebook hoping to get an answer there. I wanted to poke around on the World Wide Web. I wanted to see what the world at large was saying about that. If there really IS a difference. And if other people are even asking this question, too.

Turns out, they are. And, there is! There is indeed a difference between transgender and genderfluid. (I actually identify as genderfluid and my daughter does too. Heck, I believe that EVERY HUMAN has two genders, but that’s for a whole ‘nother blog post.) Being transgender means going from one gender, the one you are born into, to the other gender, and it’s a permanent change. But with being genderfluid, you can go from male to female and back again. Neither is permanent.

But, sadly, the whole genderfluid thing is not as commonly known about. And it doesn’t seem to be all that widely accepted. I know and very strongly feel that we are all of two genders. I feel that it is a natural part of the human experience to be genderfluid just because of that. Not only do I feel that we should have more awareness about it, but I also feel that it should be right in that mix of letters right there. As in: “LGBTG.” Because being genderfluid is a very real thing and I think it deserves a bit of recognition.

Well, maybe not everyone is going to agree with me on that one. But, yeah, the whole “genderfluid” thing needs to be in the spotlight a little bit more. People need to be talking about it a little bit more. And it’s my hope that, one day in the future, it will be accepted a little bit more.   

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