I learned so much from the articles, and the panelists, I feel that I am expanding my personal views. One could say my personal growth. I once felt that like the rest of society; to be transgendered is a horrible thing, and very little good can come with it. But after reading and talking to those who experience it firsthand. I admit that I was wrong. It can be a blessing in disguise to be a transgendered individual. Transgendered identity is something that each individual of transgender goes through.
Typically, when a little girl grows up she wants to be a woman, and feels like a woman from within, and that is how she perceives herself and wants the world to perceive her as such as well. A transgender individual may be a female genetically, however from deep within may perceive themselves as innately male. And choose to present themselves as a male. It is not always necessary to follow all the rules based on one’s physical appearance. To be gender variant for instance, one does not follow the rules and guidelines related to physical sex.
It is an attempt to be a non-conforming individual and simply defy the rigid culture gender norms. For example: “Men who are nurses or flight attendants, and women who are construction workers or police officers. (Gender Variance Model). ” An occupation is an occupation, it does not change one’s gender simply by employ. However simply because one is unsure if they skew from the typical norms, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are strange, or don’t belong.
The creation of A Gender Spectrum would tell us that there is always a place to belong. There is plenty of gray matter. It does not have to be Male or Female. We as a society have to move past the gender polarities and understand that gender does exist beyond the barriers of male and female. Society is so hell bent on creating set rules for men and women. It is okay not to fit in to a category. It is okay to just be, and take experiences as they are. It is okay to experience yourself and who you are.
The gender pluralist theory “It draws understanding of the constructedness of sex and gender from postmodernism, including the commodification and technologisation of sexed bodies, the disruption of the links between sex and gender,and the plurality of gender binaries (Munro, 16)” To move with your gender with the fluidity of water is important to be true to who you are. It can be destructive to constantly stay within the boxes that society has so artfully created and maintained for years.
Society may see that being transgendered is a curse, and something to shudder at. However oftentimes the positives of being a transgendered individual may be overshadowed by the obvious negatives and the challenges that come with it. In fact I will go so far as say that being transgendered can be a gift. It makes me think of the song by Beyonce-If I were a boy. In the song she claims if she were a boy, she’d be a better man. This is something that all transgendered understand and empathize with, as Riggle stated the benefits as “… ongruency of self; enhanced interpersonal relationships; personal growth and resiliency; increased empathy; a unique perspective on both sexes; being beyond the sex binary; increased activism; and connection to the GLBTQ communities (Riggle,150) When I met the panelists at Angel’s of Change, it was like I fell in love. The boys were so sweet, and they seemed to truly understand what a woman goes through. I felt like they knew better than anyone.
Nicolas Walker in particular told us that he knew what a special bond it was to have an intimate relationship with a woman because he understands what it is/was to be a woman. They challenge the links between sex and gender when they look and are physically and genetically born a certain sex but they perform and experience the opposite. They may choose to crossdress and be and present themselves as either male or female depending on their emotional experience and how they identify themselves.
Liminality plays the role of transition in the creation of transidentity. The root word liminal means to be in between. The creation of transidentity means one transition from one to the other. Man to woman or vice versa. It is a necessary experience, but it is not dangerous in any way. It is a process in which one grows to understand and deal with their emotions. It is important to take it as a fluid journey of life. A beautiful journey, and I have learned so much, and remain so grateful to be given these opportunities.
The most interesting thing I learned was from the panelists, when they told me face to face that they had no regrets about being who they were. They felt lucky to be given the opportunity to experience both worlds and have the ability to truly empathize with both genders. That to me was the most beautiful thing. To hear that they were happy. They understand the true meaning of being true to yourself and not looking back.