Last week’s post about growing up and Sue’s comment about the next generation made me think about the positive changes I’ve seen in the T community. While we seem to be having a slight dip in the Mostly Upwards Rollercoaster of Rights at the mo, I think we’re in a better place than the 80s and subsequent decades. Listening to my kids talk about their classmates who are out – all the way across the LGBTQ+ rainbow, bless them – it’s, well, heartwarming.
One of the good things, IMO, about the Internet is its ability to bring people together. I think that that’s helped our community share our experiences. Through that, new language and stories have arrived.
Now, I’m not an expert of any of this, so please take this more as what I’ve seen, rather than this is what happened. Others might have a different view and that’s okay. I think History is a bit of like that, while there’s certain events that are happen to a few key figures, there’s also lots of loosely connected parts that somehow build to firm something new.
So, back in the mid 80s the dictionary seemed too have two words for us: transvestite or transexual. The former, if memory serves me correctly, meant you were doing the crossdressing for sexual reasons. That’s fine if that’s your bag, but what if that description doesn’t work for you? For anyone outside the T spectrum, most trans folk (I mean that from a wide community sense) say that the idea that crossdressing for kicks and giggles is one of the main misconceptions people have about us.
Okay, term two then… Ah, okay, undergoing surgery to live full time, etc. Okay, true for some people, but certainly not everyone. As a kid alone in the past, was that my destiny too? I certainly didn’t like what my body was going through at the time, but equally crossing over to the other side, so to speak, felt like a mountain I didn’t even see the base of, let alone the summit…
So, I did what most people do when presented with a problem that they can’t solve, I tried to ignore things and not think about it 😁 Ah, somewhat tricky when your gender is such a core part of who you are. Still, lessons learned eh?
With those two terms being the main choices things seemed pretty static until the Internet communities start to appear. Maybe there was stuff going on in certain real world groups, bit if that knowledge doesn’t get circulated, how can we benefit from it? 🤔
Now, I’m not going to go into a definitions post of blah means X because, A) things change, and B) I think it’s the story behind the word that means the most. A word, IMO, is often a short cut, but using it means all parties need to have the same thing in their head. 🙂
I think it was probably the mid 2000s that I started to hear the words transgender or trans, to define a broad sense of a community or spectrum, rather than a box to put us in.
Later bi-gender popped up and – originally I was…. a bit standoffish about this idea. In honesty, I thought it was a bit pretentious and I’m sorry. I was wrong and on reflecting why I felt a bit funny about it, wasn’t the word. It was that the story behind it reflected my behaviour and I guess I was reacting to having my world view shaken a little. Still, as I say to others, it’s okay to feel what you do and also okay to change. So, with a sprinkle of self kindness, let’s accept passed mistakes, learn, and move on.
I think about that time I started to read and hear about folk who identified as genderfluid, genderqueer, and non-binary. I think I understand the story behind the first two, while the last one I’m still trying to understand. I think it’s great to see proper in the public eye stepping out and feeling that can be open about how they identify. It can be really inspiring.
I think the T community is going through a lot of discovery. Plus as more folk discover who they are, have the support and love of friends & family, we’ll learn more about ourselves. Yes, there’s some push back, but that always happens with things change. I think each generation will continue to add to the stories we have and come up with new language to help describe themselves. Here’s to progress, discovery, and acceptance.