Conformity Conshlormity

Society is insistent that you bend to it’s paradigm. We’ve surely all heard that before. We’ve probably all assumed that we are able to resist it’s demands. I certainly thought so. I honestly thought that I had been running my own race all this time, and proudly so. In fact, what I had been doing was just opting out … only engaging when absolutely necessary … operating below the radar. It’s much less stressful to exist this way for sure, but also far less rewarding and much less interesting.

I believe that it is only when you move to break one of society’s taboos that you can truly understand the power of it’s grip. Not so long ago this might have meant divorcing your spouse, or having a child outside marriage, both now widely accepted actions. For many people, challenging the (erroneously) long held belief that there are only two genders by transitioning from one of those genders to the other, or even stepping outside the binary gender construct, remains a taboo. Not only have I had to negotiate society’s predilections for the binary system, I have had to gently prize this framework from my own internal paradigm. That there is a spectrum of gender is now obvious to me.

I haven’t even gone full time as Roxy yet. Sure, I wear a lovely pair of sandals, I’m edging gingerly towards curvy, I sport longer hair than ever before, and my skin is softening delightfully, but I’m still not wearing in public the clothes that I wear at home and when I am with friends. Why? Because I still have some remaining facial hair. Hopefully for not much longer, but it’s still there, glaring back at me in the mirror every morning and every evening.

Society prefers to plonk you into categories. And by categories, I mean well established categories. Not “oh, is that a thing now?” categories, but “yeah, that’s what my nan and pop did!” categories. Society is like a super tanker: it takes ever such a long time to change direction, but changing direction it certainly is.

So parents … please talk to your children about gender diversity. Talk to your children’s friends parents and suggest they talk to their kids about it too. Children … talk to your parents about gender diversity. Tell them all it’s okay to be whoever they are. As long as they aren’t hurting anybody, they can be and love anybody they choose. They can have their coordinated lipstick and beard combinations. They can have their boobs and bow-ties. For you or your kids, it might only mean one less quizzical glance at an occasional passer-by. For that passer-by, having several dozen less strangers stare at them each day over many years might just save their life. Let’s make this a better world for everybody.

Oh, and please read Jacob Tobia’s article too.