You may find it hard to believe but this post has probably been one of the most challenging entries to write, but when I decided to gatecrash the house party of blogging I promised myself I wouldn’t shy away from any issue I felt I wanted to explore, no matter how controversial and I want the integrity of this blog to live or die by that conceptual sword.
Somes posts don’t take me too long to write (although you would never know from my output) while others require that I swim through the vast ocean of Google’s search results, in order to present a slightly more informed perspective as the issue of transgender is something I’m not sure I will ever fully understand, even though I am the man who wrote…
“To my limited understanding a transgender person is an individual who feels at their core they identify with the opposite gender. I support anyone who wants to take a step closer to being an authentic representation of themselves, I am just not well versed enough in the issues of transgender to really speak about it any great detail. That’s not to say I believe you must go through a similar experience to relate to one, however the issue of transgender is a very particular and personal one.”
I recently read an article that kick-started the cogs of my thought process; stating that a growing number of parents, teachers and experts are of the opinion we need to raise children within a “gender neutral” culture. As a parent of two sons and a daughter estimated to arrive within this reality in a few short months, I wonder if I should have a more gender-neutral approach to raising my beloved offspring.
I am going to carefully extract “sexual orientation“ from the equation, as who a person is attracted to is not something that has any particular relevance here. My emphasis for this post is on gender identity and the stage mainstream society has set up when its citizens bask in the spotlight.
I have no problem with men and women inherently possessing different behaviours or characteristics and depending on the source you read that is either quite a large or comparatively small difference, but a difference does exist and its very important that it isn’t dismissed, even if we want to live in a gender-neutral utopia.
The gender-neutral concept is an interesting one because I think it only works if it remains in harmony with people who are gender specific, otherwise how would an individual know they want to identify as a man or women (or decide they don’t want to identify as either) if they have no frame of reference? The beauty of a free thinking, progressive society is that we want to encourage and develop individuality that is cohesive, therefore I’m not sure if I want to “neutralise” the traditional gender structure within any society because the heterosexual experience is fundamental for the continuation of our species.
At this point you are free to question my sentiment and perhaps even ask yourself “So are you saying that you want to live in a world where men and women live within socially regulated existence?”
Coming from the man who thinks the 1983 classic Its Raining Men is one of the greatest dance songs of all time and Disney’s Tangled being one of my favourite animated films, it might be a little hypocritical of me, but I want to live in a world where my offspring have the freedom to explore who they are without any externally imposed expectations based on oestrogen or testosterone levels to limit opportunity.
I have no problem with the rise of gender-neutral bathrooms (they are so much cleaner!) or women’s only gyms, if it gives an individual more choice, but I would prefer a gender inclusive world that provides equal opportunities while accepting physical and behavioural differences do exist.
Perhaps I’m getting too caught up on the terminology? I can appreciate the term “gender neutral” is designed to give opportunities to all genders to explore their potential within society, but I don’t want that neutrality to come at the cost of robbing traditional gender behaviours of their inherent identity.
Until next time.