Gender identity might be more about what’s between our ears than anything else. Yes, biology determines birth sex but it appears that much of what we consider gender identity varies from person to person with the acceptability of certain types of behaviour hinging on the cultural norms of the period. In other words, people are as feminine or masculine as they feel and the degree to which they deviate from the accepted norm for their time and place, will determine their punishment or reward.
There are very masculine women and very feminine men and we have all known or met at least one such person in our lifetime. Most of these people are comfortable with their birth sex. The reason why others are not still remains a mystery.
I have sometimes wondered what the world might be like if people were allowed to express themselves freely and choose a manner of gender presentation that fit their internal image of themselves. Would the sometimes erratic and schizophrenic behaviour experienced by many gender confused individuals be eliminated if they were permitted to fully realize themselves in childhood? Might some transitions be avoided? Might some happen sooner?
Perhaps yes but I don’t have a definite answer to that question.
I have read countless upon countless accounts of people who exhibited atypical gender behaviour and ambiguity early in childhood who were met with derision and chastisement; many of these stories mirror my own. The response of the child was most often rooted in trying to eradicate, suppress or hide this behaviour in order to conform. However, this invariably came at high cost and the subsequent efforts to undo years of harm often meant the end of marriages and family relationships at a later stage in life.
By the time the individual became self realized an entire lifetime may have been consumed in trying to become who they truly were.
Everyone deserves to be happy and to have their internal image of themselves recognized and accepted by their family and peers but breaking gender norms is still a significant taboo in many if not most cultures.
The world is changing and it is easier today than when I was a child but there is still much work to be done. I have taken the hard road to self fulfillment and would like to hope that others can be spared this path since much of it should be entirely avoidable. It all seems so ridiculous and anticlimactic to me now, but for the longest time it was a complicated riddle which I needed to solve.
It’s all about giving yourself the freedom and permission to be who you are – and that is as simple or as complicated as you allow it to be.
One of the main reasons this blog continues to exist is to offer encouragement to others who are still on their own path and trying to figure things out.