11 Nov 2015

Transgender


For many of us, as it is for doctors and scientists, life is black and white.  We look at something, and make a decision, an assessment, a judgement, based only on the look of that thing.

So, when a baby is born, a midwife or a doctor looks between their legs and pronounces to the eagerly awaiting parents whether it is a boy or girl. Then, when the baby goes home it is in a pink world of dolls and frilly dresses, or a blue world of cars and trousers.

Gradually some babies, as they grow, find that they prefer to play with toys aimed at the opposite sex and love those clothes too. If they have friends, they soon learn to be very careful with what they say and how they come across to them.

When they are really young, they become very confused, and miserable, and don't quite know why this is. Although some intuitively know very early on, others struggle to fit in, until there comes a time when eventually the feeling that they are in the wrong body gets stronger and stronger.

To fit in with what society expects is "normal" they try to smother those feelings and become very good actors. Some appear to be happy to the outside world with the "acceptable" life, while others have trouble to keep the illusion of happiness going. Unfortunately they find that they can only be themselves in secret. Some find that the wanting to be themselves is so incredibly strong that they can't smother it any longer.

At some stage, they will likely try to be their own selves, which will give them a huge relief, satisfaction, and sense of self-worth.  Wearing mom's or big sister's clothes shoes, and make up will be thrilling liberating, as it will be trying on dad's or big brothers clothes and accessories, depending on the child's own identity.  Or if it is later in life, they will secretly buy what they think would be suitable for them, pretending that it is for their girlfriend/boyfriend. They will mimic postures, mannerism, voices, attempting to find their true identities.  Those more gender-neutral will find other ways to test and assert their own perspective of their identity.

And this will be such a delicate, sensitive, and dangerous stage in their growth.  Their sense of self-worth, their confidence, their self-love impinges on people's reactions here.  Total, complete, unwavering, and unquestioning support, as well as absolute and loving acceptance are the only correct reaction that will enable the child to explore, assess, and determine their identity.

A few are lucky.  They have families that intuitively accept, support, and nurture the child with unconditional love.  Regrettably, most are not.  As parents, relatives, siblings, neighbours and friends, we may allow our own prejudices, beliefs, upbringing, and many other factors to interfere with the unconditional love that a child/person requires for a physical, emotional, and mental healthy development.

A child wants to be "normal", and need to feel that their behaviour, wishes, and identities are "normal".  Sometimes even to use the term "special" is sufficient to make the child feel different, and may cause issues in their acceptance of their selves.

Sometimes they may be accepted, but made to feel guilty for not having "come out" sooner, and for having lied.  Sometimes they can be made to feel that their identity is a burden to the rest of the family.  Sometimes they may be just told outright that what they are doing is wrong.  There are many nuances of acceptance, many shades of grey between the absolute unconditional love, and outright rejection.

Any of these nuances will destroy that happy feeling the child had when they tried their identity, as we said above, and like it.

Children just want their parent just the way they were before their coming out, and the change in behaviour, attitude, and sentiment of their close family is equal to grief.  The way they see is that they have lost their parents or their siblings,  Some feel it is like the person has died and they are missed very much and just want them to be as they used to be.

A lot of anger and abuse is heaped on them by people who don't understand and are frightened of what they don't understand. Some just can't accept that they are still the same person but just with another name and with a slightly different look. If this coming out is later in life, probably they will lose their job, which is a huge humiliation as they have done nothing wrong; and it takes away their opportunity to better themselves in their chosen profession and to earn a living.

With the increased popularity of scientific disciplines such as Quantum Physics, even scientists are beginning to notice that what we see, is not necessarily the reality of things.  We too need to learn not to judge the proverbial book by its cover.

Please just take a moment to imagine a situation where you are not allowed to be, dress, or behave the way your feel; or you are prohibited to love, kiss, or even  to be attracted to the person of your choice, as society demanded that you are someone that you simply are not .

You would be horrified and feel it was completely unfair and it would ruin your life. Just be very thankful that you don't have to force yourself to fit in.