Thursday, February 9, 2017


So the other day, I saw a social media posting from a young person who was upset about being called a "lady," several times that day. She was born female, and certainly looks the part, but is genderfluid and prefers to be perceived as masculine.

Part of the issue, according to the post, was a fear of standing up for their desire to seen as masculine and not as a woman. But there's another side of it, that resonated with me from my own experience, and that's just the difficulty of linking anything about oneself to how other people see you. People see the world in a combination of the way they've learned to see it, the way it's been described to them and the way that works for them. And other people fit within that. It's an impossible thing to wish away, no matter how much one want to be seen in the way one sees oneself.

It took me a long time to learn that. Granted, the disconnect between the way people saw me and the way I saw myself had nothing to do with gender. It was a simple matter of being Different when I didn't want to be. I move in circles that are predominantly White - and that means I stand out immediately. When there was a large team meeting at work, and people came from all over the Americas to attend, it was immediately obvious to everyone there who I was the second I walked in the room - after all, I'm the only Black guy on the team. I, on the other hand, was working to match people with their voices or pictures that were often several years old. It was stressful and it brought back that feeling of being Different that had so haunted me when I was a child. But I'm more or less okay with it now, because it's not going to change.

It did take me a while to get there, though, and so I sympathize with other people who see themselves one way, or who want to see themselves one way, and are constantly reminded that they aren't seen that way by the people around them. It's going to be tough going for a while. But it will, like all things, subside.

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