September’s Circle was very interesting and informative. The topic was “Gender & Sexuality”, and we had 2 guest speakers: Rebby who goes by “they/them/their” pronouns, and a “regular attendee” Bunny who goes by “they/them/their” pronouns.
“What the hell are you talking about, Willow?!” Well, first of all, I’m talking about the gender-spectrum, and second of all, please go to YouTube right now and watch Katie Couric’s special, The Gender Revolution. (It’s also on Netflix.)
Katie Couric takes us along on her education about the Gender Spectrum. People are no longer “simply” described in binary-gender terms, i.e. “male/female”. …Honestly, it has never been only binary descriptors until relatively recently in terms of world history. Many “primal” and “uncivilized” and indigenous peoples around the globe have always had terms and varied words for the gender spectrum, and many places other than the United States still have much better vocabulary & acceptance around this topic.
Just because your anatomy at birth looks a certain way, doesn’t mean that is your gender. Gender is more directly related to your personal sense of your gender, not what people start labeling you based on your anatomy when you’re born. Try googling “gender spectrum”, and/or Gender Spectrum (dot) org.
Honestly, I’d never really thought about it, nor thought I had a “choice” in the matter. I was raised as a “girl”, and did/do lots of things “expected” of a girl, and never had any feelings one way or the other about it all. I just “conformed”. But there are so many people who don’t/haven’t “done it” that way… They just know inside that they aren’t what others try to “make” them be. And because society is the way it is, many of those same people struggle…
My oldest child Bunny was always slightly “tomboy-ish”. I never really thought about it or tried to make “her” change “her” actions/clothes/etc. I just accepted who “she” was [were]. But in growing and learning more about “her”self, fairly recently “she” realized that honestly, “she” is [are] actually a non-binary, and that means goes by “they/them/their(s)” pronouns. [Now, please go back and re-read this paragraph, but replace “she” with “they” and “her” with “them” or “their”.] …Which also means that they are no longer my “daughter”… And I’m still trying to land on a one-word “label” that I like that means “a non-binary person who entered this World through my Matrix (aka womb)”. Lately I’m liking the descriptor “Sproutling”. =-)
Honestly, I’m still getting used to breaking out of my habits and my lifelong conditioning/acculturation of thinking & speaking in binary-gender terms. We have SO many nouns that “name” relatives that are binary-gender-specific: daughter/son, niece/nephew, mother/father, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, grandmother/grandfather, etc. Actually, the only non-binary word I can think of that “names” a relative without regard to gender is cousin. And the same is true for our ways of thinking about other nouns: doctor, mechanic, engineer, scientist, mailman, farmer, secretary, nurse, dancer, teacher, princess, etc. If you’re 35 or older, you probably had a certain binary-gender come to mind when I said those nouns.
And then we step into pronouns… We were taught in school that pronouns for people are he/him/his, she/her/her(s), we/us/our(s), they/them/their(s) (and “they” meant plural back then)… But now we’re learning that the old-school ways of labeling aren’t exactly inclusive, and that it “others” a lot of people, meaning it leaves many people out of the conversation and therefore out of the group of “us”.
And I know when many people first hear of one person going by “they/them/their” pronouns, their first argument against it is, “But that’s plural! You can’t go by ‘they/them’! It’s grammatically incorrect!” …Well… Honestly, I initially had that argument as well. Please let me refer you to this article. And I think, in reality, it’s actually change we’re fighting against. Maybe if we would simply first question our own questions…
And don’t even get me started on the Spanish language around gender! Every noun & pronoun in Spanish automatically has binary-gender in the meaning, ending either in “-o” (typically masculine) or “-a” (typically feminine) and nouns having the articles “el” (masculine) or “la” (feminine). That’s why we’re beginning to see some Spanish words with an “x” in them, like “Latinx”. And many people are also adopting the “x” in English – “humxn”, “persxn”, “hxstory” etc. to take binary-gender out of those words.
I personally would love to live in a world where every person knows, feels and believes they are valuable, worthy, and accepted no matter what. A world that values each Life and sees each Life as worthy of acceptance. A world where “different” doesn’t mean “bad/negative/scary/unacceptable/less-than”.
A world that “allows” & encourages You to be authentically You, and Me to be authentically ME.
I see You. I accept You. I love You.