I had planned to post something else this week, but something else came up today that jogged my memory about something else I had been thinking about posting, and made me decide that I needed to put the planned post aside, and sit right down and write this one right now.
It’s about gender and sexuality issues.
I, and a lot of my friends in the cis-gender (that’s “gender-typical” for those up you who aren’t hip to the terminology) are very confused about all these new gender issues that we’re having thrown at us seemingly all at once. As a result, we’re all confused, befuddled, and constantly saying the wrong thing.
We’re trying to understand, but can’t because it’s all so new, and we have no context for understanding. We can’t learn without asking, and we can’t ask without offending. When we ask innocent questions in order to try to understand, we’re often greeted with an angry response like, “It’s not my job to educate you, find out for yourself!” And yet, this response seems to forget that finding out for ourselves is exactly what we’re trying to do.
OK…so maybe what the angry gender-nonconforming person really meant to say was, “It’s not my job to educate you…look it up for yourself.” But that’s problematic in two ways. First of all, that assumes that someone wants to write a book, or series of articles to educate the rest of us, and quite frankly, to turn the question around, why should it be their job to educate us? Heck…looking at it that way, why should it be anyone’s job to educate us? And taking it further, why should it be the job of anyone in any group to educate those outside the group?
The second problem is that we have no way of knowing what’s authoritative information on gender nonconformity unless we ask someone first.
And here’s where the title of today’s post comes in. We really need to talk this to death…really.
Why? Because there’s so much we don’t know. Because there’s so much that’s not part of normal discourse and understanding. Because there’s so much we’re afraid to ask because we’re afraid of offending, and so much we misunderstand, and offend people with as a result.
We need to talk about this all the time. We have to make talking about sexuality and gender issues as natural as if we were talking about hair color, eye color, height, weight (well, maybe not that), or anything else about us. We need to make it so that we’re comfortable talking about the great diversity there is in sexuality from the time we’re little kids.
Yes…little kids can handle this. Little kids can handle the fact that most people fall into neat category of boy or girl, but some don’t. And if you start them out then, there’ll a whole lot less confusion and unintentional offense when they’re older.
And to get there….as uncomfortable as it may seem…we have to talk it to death now. We have to be able to have those awkward conversations that bring about understanding little by little until they’re no longer awkward conversations.
Is it unfair that gender nonconforming people need to educate the rest of us? I don’t know…who would you rather have do the educating…the Westboro “Baptist” Church? Is it unfair that Jews have to explain Judaism, that Moslems have to explain Islam, or that African-Americans have to explain that we’re not all from the hood?
Right now gender nonconformity is a human variant that most of us don’t understand, and are very confused about. But if we talk it to death, it will just become another variation…that we’re all used to and comfortable with.
So I say, “Let the talking begin!”