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The Umbrella


I saw a post, today, that suggests we're overly conflating gender-variance with being transgender. Respectfully, I have to disagree. 

I disagree from two essential angles: gender is a socal construct and people own their labels.

In terms of gender as social contruct, we know that people are generally categorized into two loose buckets based on physical, or presumed physical, characteristics. As such, it is possible to engage in the social construct of a gender that was not assigned to you at birth in a very large number of ways and not all of them require dysphoria or medical intervention to do so.  Given that "transgender" is an adjective that describes being on the other side of your assigned gender (as opposed to "cisgender" being on the side of it), I think it's fair to ascribe a larger umbrella for the term than the more classical assumptions around requiring dysphoria and medical transition.

Adding on to that, I think it's very harmful to gatekeep labels like this. People own assigning, if they wish, the labels that they feel comfortable with. As such, not all gender-variant people will define themselves as being transgender, but some will and that is very important! Why?

Well, I want to take you back almost 30 years to when I first sought to relieve my gender incongruence and ran smack into labels and definitions that didn't fit. Back then, you were considered trans based on very narrow definitions and transition was only possible if you displayed specific characteristics, otherwise you were considered to be a crossdresser. All I can say is, I fit neither narrow paths and yet, here I am, on HRT for almost 3 years and I am now 4 months post affirmation surgery.

That was thing, I spent a very large part of my adult life without any hope of being able to figure myself out and so I drank myself to sleep every night. You could literally count on one hand the number of days alcohol was absent from my day. The gatekeeping of labels and definitions very much harmed me and cost me a lot of years of joy in myself as a result.

Language evolves and I appreciate the power of that more than ever. Learning that there were many paths and journeys for trans people was a huge growth opportunity for me and it unlocked me in ways that I could have never imagined 30 years ago.

So, let's not police the definitions here. Transgender is an umbrella and underneath it are a great many experiences and journeys. That is a beautiful thing.

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