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as we come of age

Many of us assume that gender expression and behavior are necessarily linked to identity and they can be but not always. We see drag queens exalt in exaggerated femininity but then remove their dresses and be perfectly happy in their male bodies.

The transgender movement might be on the verge of becoming accepted but some of us need to reflect on what is really required to keep us balanced and happy.

I don't like someone else labeling me which is why I stay away from terms that have a acquired a historical meaning for people but doesn't describe me fully as a person. One such term is cross dresser which replaced transvestite in our modern lexicon. Those descriptors carried weight during their eras but they were coined when we knew far less about sex and gender.

The term transsexual was also minted during the same era and carried its own connotations.

The problem was that people continued to blur the lines between them. Some people began as self described crossdressers but ended up transitioning. This led to the adopting of the term transgender to try and capture all forms of gender variance and is even now embraced by some transitioned women; Geena Rocero and Janet Mock come to mind as examples.

Older transitioned women bristle at being associated with other transgender people because they grew up during a time when transvestite was just another term for sexual deviant and indeed our infamous Dr. Blanchard didn't help matters when he drew a clear distinction between his two typologies.

The fact is that we know close to nothing about transsexualism and other forms of gender variance which end up today under the same umbrella term. What is good is that we have depathologized gender variance and have chalked it up to an expected biological variant of nature. In other words, nothing is uniform or perfect.

The danger for some of us might be to think that in order to lead honest lives that we must abandon our lives as husbands and fathers to pursue lives as transitioned women. Yes for some this is a necessity while for others it may be a path best not traveled.

Remembering that gender variance can be expressed and celebrated within the context of our existing reality might be the best victory of all. After all how much of your behaviour has been governed by what you were told was expected rather than based on your own instincts.



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