Am I? or Aren't I? Moving Beyond Binary thought in a Binary World
It's PRIDE MONTH! Holy Cow we get a whole month to ourselves, so strap in and let's get ready to talk about the binary, what it means, how it is changing, and so much more. Please note that we should be talking about this even if it isn't/wasn't pride month.
I am a therapist who works with all different kinds of people, most of all, individuals who choose to identify in the galaxy of LGBTQIA+. (From here on out I will be using galaxy to describe the plethora of labels and identities that exist under LGBTIQA+.)
The Binary in terms of gender, is the system of gender that European culture has existed in, and continues to operate from, which is currently the source of a great deal of confusion for those who feel differently. Let's be real here and acknowledge that individuals in the galaxy of LGBTQIA+ have existed throughout time, but for the sake of this article I will note that the dominant cultural norm are men, and women as gender markers.
Since the start of my business in October of 2020 I started to notice something happening. I was getting a lot of phone calls from individuals who were assigned one gender at birth who think they might be another. They are most often hiding their true self, and looking for an answer. "Who am I?" "What am I?" I hear the panic, the need for an answer, and sometimes even the demand for hormones, Doctors, etc. I am not here to tell anyone what they are, or are not. It is my understanding that we do enough of that ourselves. What I would like to ask in the midst of all the rush to figure out what, who, where, when, and how you are is, what if you are not wrong? What if no matter what you call yourself you are not wrong?
I have felt this sense of urgency to "figure it out" from many people, including myself. The world is asking for everyone to choose a side in so many ways, and gender is one of them. Not knowing, being in question, being in process is not what people want to hear right? They want to hear that you always knew you were gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. They want the gut wrenching story that has been personified and presented as "the right way" to do, and be in this world. Let me tell you my friends, your gender has nothing to do with what "they" want. Would you like to know what I tell people when they are not sure about who they are? I tell them, "That's wonderful news!" What most people are unwilling to do is have allowance for their own process. We are so entrained to have ourselves figured out, to have the right answer, that anything less feels like a failure or disqualification.
What if there isn't a "right" answer to who you are, or who you have to be?
Part of my practice is centered around celebrating the difference that you are. One thing my mother was really good at was teaching me that it is okay to be different. I grew up knowing that it was the difference that I was that made me someone others wanted to be around. What if your difference is the gift that this world has been waiting for? This question applies more broadly, even beyond gender expression, to each individual. One thing I know is that I hear people craving to hear stories like their own.
Do you feel like you are the only one?
Like there is no one else like you?
Are you sure that you are freak of nature?
Do other people reinforce all of those beliefs?
I spent most of my life waiting for someone to come along and give me permission to be myself. I thought I had to wait until I was perfect before I could present myself as "authentic", "real", "valuable". What I didn't know is that my story is valuable no matter where I am in it. If you are waiting to find someone with a story like yours, what if the key to finding them was coming out and telling your own? I know the risks, trust me. But what if you took the leap and instead of crashing to the ground, you found that you had wings? One thing we have seen over the past year is the power of telling a story, and the importance of hearing all different voices.
Would you be willing to be a voice? As different, as unique, as colorful as you are?
If you would like to hear my story click HERE