Our (Gender) Identity Crisis
The questions we should all be asking about gender but are too afraid of being judged.....
I stayed up all night reading over a list of the different types of sexual orientation and genders and I have some questions... Please know that I am asking with a true desire to understand.
I have never experienced gender dysphoria or been ridiculed for my sexual orientation but I know many who have. I am not a bigot or close minded nor am I liberally accepting of any and everything I’m told we have to be accepting of in our society in this day and age. I cannot and will not ever pass judgment on someone for the way they identify themselves or to whom they are attracted but I will speak to the spectacle that is being made of it in our world today.
We are taking the uniqueness of humans, the lovely little things about us that make us all gloriously different, and forcing confusing and isolating labels on them. We are separating ourselves and teaching our children to separate themselves with these labels. Half of the genders and sexual orientations I read about are incredibly specific and the other half are insanely vague and each one contradicts the next and some of the terms feel scarily insulting to people who identify themselves as the gender on their birth certificate. We are teaching children to second guess their sense of selves before they have even had a chance to figure out who they are for themselves! One of the lists I read actually had a term for people who identify as their assigned gender and in parentheses it said “often used as a slur”.
WHY in the world are we creating these words of inclusion for so many different types of genders to promote positive self image while simultaneously creating a word to make people who feel comfortable with their birth gender and are only attracted to the opposite sex feel like they should be ashamed? If the goal is to promote self love and acceptance why doesn’t that apply to everyone? Why does it feel like we are calling straight men Neanderthals and straight women Prudes? Why are we acting like people who are attracted to the opposite sex are somehow less sexually awakened than others or like “cisgender’s” are less in tune with their feelings about who they are? Like being confident in your own body and sexual desires is only okay if it goes against the traditional concepts of gender and sexual orientation. Why does it feel like we are encouraging children to make decisions about their identities and their sexual preferences before they are even old enough to understand what sex is?
Looking back on my childhood I’m sure I displayed a million different behaviors that today would get me slapped with about six different labels that could have drastically impacted the way I viewed myself. I remember kissing pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio every night before I went to bed after the movie Titanic came out and just a few years later having a giant crush on Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider and wishing I could look just like her. I would rather go out in the woods and play marines than paint my nails or put on make up but my American Girl dolls were my most prized possessions. I was miserable when my mom made me wear a dress and was the happiest wearing my dads old t-shirts and hiking boots but my favorite color was pink and there were stuffed animals all over my bed. What if one of my teachers or a counselor, family friend or even my parents had latched on to any of those qualities in particular and decided to put a label on me? What if because I dressed in boys clothes and played outside I must wish I was a boy and then encouraged me to identify as a boy? My entire identity I was developing on my own time would have dramatically shifted and I might not be who I am today. My little girl self loved Leo because duh, he’s hot and I found myself attracted to Angelina because duh, she’s gorgeous! I dressed like a marine and played in the woods because my dad had just joined the military and I looked up to him and wanted to be like him. I played with dolls because it was fun and liked pink because it was bright and had stuffed animals because they were cute. I’ve grown up to be a strong and confident woman who is married to a masculine (yeah I’m saying masculine as a compliment, get over it) and secure man and I’m insanely happy with myself and my choice of partner. I don’t carry the burden of labels as an adult and I thankfully don’t suffer from the trauma of forced labels as a child. I am who I am and I’m not apologetic about it and that is something that absolutely everyone in this world deserves.
We are doing it wrong by trying to analyze, categorize, label, and sub label the way we feel and how we identity. I know there are so many people in the world who are searching for their identity and aching to understand their feelings but clinging to a label out of a desperate desire to define yourself is only succeeding in putting a limit to the possibilities of how much you can grow in your self acceptance and development of what makes you uniquely you. These labels are not a product of a “woke” world, they are the result of a society desperate for control and represent our unhealthy need to appear more liberal than anyone else. This exclusionary labeling has got to stop. Love who you love. Feel how you feel. Empower your masculinity and your femininity. Introduce yourself with your confidence as a qualifier and let your actions describe your identity. Be comfortable with not fitting into a perfectly packaged and (politically) correct labeled box. Be you and let others be themselves without having to feel obligated to accept your assessment of them.