Tuesday, 5 April 2016

how we label ourselves

I need to be careful about nomenclature but then I come from the generation when the terminology of transvestite and transsexual for example had very particular meanings. We saw them as boundaries that we are a little less certain about today.

For today’s generation these terms have less meaning. They use words like gender queer, non-binary, gender non-conforming or gender variant to describe their lack of adherence to prescribed gender roles. Even the term transsexual is no longer used by gender therapists and I was reminded of this when I went to see Helene Cote at the Montreal General Gender Identity clinic a couple of years back.

The problem with strict definitions is that they are made to be broken and recast. Some people start off with an understanding of themselves and years later take a different path they did not expect to take. Does that mean that their original label was incorrect or did their mindset shift over time as they began to truly understand what made them tick?

All people learn and grow with time and shed the restrictions placed on them by society. They do so at their own pace with some being more rebellious and some more conservative depending on their nature and life circumstances.

Maybe we should be careful with labels and allow ourselves a looser grip with how we move forward in honouring what makes us who we are. What I thought I understood about myself a few years back has changed and I have a different mindset now.

Such is the complexity of the human experience.


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