Gender Perception, Awareness, and Intention.
Let's talk about perception, awareness, and intention.
I know better than to use the Latin term Modus Operandi, to describe how I conduct myself when I walk out the door. That being said, if you are Trans or anyone who is gender non-confirming like myself you know very well that we live in a Gender Binary World. What does that mean? When we are in public and someone sees us they think "that's a dude" or "that's a chick." When someone like myself steps into a public space some people pause when they see me. I can see it in their eyes. If I look closely it's as if they are trying to put me in one of two boxes "Male" or "Female." What that really means is they are trying to figure out if I was born with a penis or a vagina. They have been conditioned to see only two sexes/genders. That's what it means to live in a Gender Binary World.
That pause from strangers is when the Gender Social Dance begins. My guess is that some folks wonder "does this dude think he's a woman?" while others who are more "woke" think "what pronouns should I use in order to not offend them?" This is also where perception, awareness, and intention do its thing. Let's say they perceive you to be born male, but you are presenting physically as being more feminine, some folks wonder "is this person aware that they are not a woman?" They might even think "if this dude thinks he's a woman he's totally delusional."
I've been on hormones since 2018. When I look at my image in the mirror or in videos I see some form of femininity but I don't see a cis woman. So clearly I see a feminized male. That is my perception and awareness of myself. That's what I carry with me when I walk out the door and interact with people I don't know. How am I received by strangers? If you follow me on social media you know from my posts that I've gotten catcalls from men when I'm walking down the street here in New York City. On the internet I usually get comments like "stunning woman," and on my Instagram pics some folks use the words "woman," "girl," and "lady" to describe me. My office coworkers use HE pronouns for me, my boyfriend uses SHE pronouns for me, and some of my friends use THEY pronouns for me.
My awareness is that we live in a Gender Binary World where we expect men to be masculine and women to be feminine. So when we are confronted with someone who doesn't fit the mold then there is a pause. That pause is a moment to bring awareness to our humanity and the illusion of this thing we call "Gender." The pause is a teaching tool to show the Gender conditioning we've been living under. It is at this point we must express our intentions in breaking from "traditional" gender norms. It is at this point in awareness that Trans and Gender Non-confirming individuals become teachers (if they seize the moment). Too often though they miss the mark by playing small, hiding, or worse, becoming defensive, escalating tensions between Trans and Cis folk. In defense of my Trans siblings I will say this, to this day in 2021, in some cultures around the world, the law of the land is either you conform to the Gender Binary or you will get killed. Gender Expressions have become politicized not only to save lives but also to make it easier to kill those who dare step out of "Traditional Gender Roles." Is society so volatile that it can collapse by the mere act of a man wearing a dress? Is the threat of crossdressing so big that it sparks fear and hatred so deep that it's easier to annihilate those who don't conform rather than to listen and learn about how they experience themselves in life? Are Trans and Gender Non-conforming folk so sensitive that if they are mis-gendered they feel the need to snap, or fall into a deep depression?
Life ought to be about opportunities, about access, yet it is oh-so-common for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming individuals to limit their own access and opportunities simply because they don't feel worthy of existence. How can they, when they are bombarded with messages that state "ye must conform to social norms or ye shall be vanished and turned into an outcast, a reject, a weirdo, an undesirable." And that's really what it all comes down to isn't it; folks who have assimilated and have conformed to the status quo vs those who wish to have a freer self-expression without having to suffer the oppression of an unjust Gender Binary World. Imagine if Women a century ago would have said "you're right, women do belong in the kitchen and they should not have the right to vote. We were born with vulvas thus how can we chime-in on societal issues on the same level as those individuals born with a penis?"
There are people who think Transgenderism is an illness. I don’t believe Transgenderism is an illness. I am more inclined to say that Transgenderism is a symptom of a social virus many if not most humans suffer from. Sexism and Transphobia is brought on by the deadly social virus known as the Gender Binary. A virus for which we've yet to find a vaccine. So long as we keep buying barbies only for little girls and toy cars only for little boys we are assuring that the next generation gets infected with this social virus. So long as we keep telling boys that they "run like a girl" we assure the survival of the deadly Gender Binary. So long as we tell boys to "man up and stop being a little pussy," we continue to give license to disrespect and kill our Trans brothers and sisters, and feminine counterparts.
It's only with increase awareness of how Gender affects every aspect of our lives that we can set intentions to transform the Gender Binary from a deadly prison to a medium of self-expression. We CAN make that transition together, and we MUST make that transition as a collective if we are to create a more equitable world beyond the Gender Binary. It starts with awareness of our perception so we can set forth our best human intentions, to make it less painful and deadly for the next generation.