So Constance, on Sunday there was a birth announcement. A child had been born, healthy and mom was okay too. Everyone was happy and feeling good about a new little life in the world…and then came this:
“It’s a healthy little girl!” Followed by a smattering of applause and some coos and happy noises…
…and just like that a potential nightmare of dysphoria is begun.
Can you see it here? First of all, the very first thing we are told about this child is its gender, before anything else. Everyone wanted to know this, and from this point on, that child is going to be socialized and treated according to cultural customs and expectations that may have nothing to do with who that child really is, and could be quite harmful to the child in that they would run directly counter to the child’s identity.
And we know the child’s gender how? Why, because we looked between the legs…and now a human being’s first most basic categorizing has been accomplished in the name of genitalia. Never mind the fact that there are all kinds of intersex conditions that only show up upon chromosomal examination…no need for that, right?
Now…the odds are that this child will turn out to be female. But those odds are not as long as what everyone thinks. And just think…if that child turns out to be like I was, and learns that their very being is wrong, is naught and ought not…
Not to mention how I felt, sitting there…in the midst of allies and friends mind you! Who in all the reflex of the ritual sat there and gendered a human being less than a week old and without even having met the child let alone heard her tell us who she is! They would all say they support me…but it is sadly still a support after a couple of layers of thought and reminding themselves that I am “identifying female”.
And that makes me cry, because I identify as a human being.
I am female.
I get criticized often for being persnickety about words…I get anxious about what people mean and question closely and then feel like I am an irritant when others say that they were not speaking as specifically as I took what was said.
But I am that way because of things like this…when a whole identity has been rendered a done deal without even a word being said by the person thus sentenced.
When will it be natural for us to announce our healthy children, and the great anticipation that we have in finding out who they are? Think how they would be brought up! Think how much more balanced and developed they would be.
Oh, and don’t worry…they will tell us their gender. It is that basic. You can rest assured of that simply by reflecting on how you would react if someone sought to police you as a gender other than that which you are.
Gender is more than genitalia…when will our understandings of one another be so too?
Until then, I will find myself alone, and sitting embarrased while gender privilege is handed out right and left, and a certain ratio doomed by this policing to join me in the ranks of those of who sit in the pew together…all alone.