This letter writer is questioning their gender identity and is unsure how their older relatives will react.
Maintain your self-respect and explore your identity, says our elder. And be assured that you’ll find plenty of community.
I’m confused about my gender. One minute I’ll feel like I’m a boy and want to be a boy and the next I want to be a girl and it may sound hard to understand but even sometimes I don’t want a gender; I just feel like I don’t have one and I don’t know how to deal with it. Some people call it being gender fluid and I guess it means I can be both or switch back and forth, and I kind of like the idea of it but I’m scared. I live in a family where most of them are accepting and supportive but the older generations of my family are against it and I just feel worried sometimes and I just really don’t know what to do
I have no trouble understanding why you’re confused and I’m happy to offer an elder’s perspective on your dilemma. I find my first thought is wondering whether our present-day determination to debate gender issues and reach dogmatic conclusions about something most of us have only a very partial knowledge of makes your circumstance more or less difficult than it would be a generation or so ago when the topic was rarely ever mentioned – though surely the experience was just as common then as now? Of course, neither of us knows the answer, and we both live in this time when most of us have ill-informed opinions about it. Suffice to say in the past there would be no split in the family as you’d either keep your feelings secret or everyone would be equally mystified.
That noted, let me say I believe gender has a lot in common with all the other phenomena that exist in continuums, like shades of gray, or size of dogs. Where each of us is comfortable along the spectrum from male to female and back is as individual as our thumbprint, but unlike thumbprints our sense of ourselves can shift and drift some, particularly when we’re young. So, let’s be clear, you’re normal, ordinary, appropriate, and unique. Hold on to that concept, maintain your self-respect, and explore your personal attributes as they gel into an identity you can plan around.
My advice is to keep as low a profile as you can manage among the older folk and avoid flamboyance among peers except when you feel really safe to express yourself in the manner that appeals. We have to face the fact that gender fluidity strikes many people as strange and somehow wrong. It’ll be that way for a while – perhaps a long while – but realize you have masses of company in a fast-growing population of us who celebrate all our human variations.
I’ll close by urging you to be both attentive and wary of what you find on the web. I’ll not attempt to direct your search as there’s far too much material to sample, so explore knowing many websites cleave to suspect agendas; but as a source for information, the web is a cornucopia we can’t afford to ignore.
Here’s hoping these comments will be helpful. Please feel free to respond if you’d like to expand on any aspect you care to focus on. I’ll be happy to reply.
Article #: 444286