I was perusing Facebook yesterday, as one does, when I came across a video shared by my friend Phony Toot. Phony had been watching a few too many Ted Talks I think, and she posted a video with the title “Hey Doc, Some Boys are Born Girls,” and I thought, before watching it, oh no, here we go again.
I didn’t think this because I was tired of compelling posts by Phony Toot. I didn’t think this because I didn’t agree with the title of the video. I didn’t even think this because of what I wrongly assumed the video would be about. I know that some babies are born with two sets of genitalia, and that other babies are kind of a coin flip for doctors in terms of what gender they assign to them. There are a lot of choices out there for gender identity. No, I was fearful for a discussion that ended with another letter being added to that already lengthy pseudo-acronym LGBTQIAPK that describes “not me.”
First it was gay and lesbian. That’s how it was when I was a kid. That’s how we described “those people,” who differed from the sexual norms. But it was changed to LGB, because bisexual people did not feel included in that label. The “T” was added for transgender people, and after a while I got used to “The LGBT Community.” It even rolled off the tongue. Of course that was before “Q” showed up.
LGBTQ never had the same ring to it, but I had to accept that queer people felt different than the BLT and the G, so I sighed and added one more label to my brain. When I and A showed up recently, it was almost too much. Intersexual and Asexual people had gotten into the mix with the rest of them, and the acronym was updated again. By the way, I said “pseudo-acronym” back there, only due to my stubborn OCD belief that good acronyms ought to spell another word. Or at least something you can pronounce. Like SCUBA and BAMF. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, P and K. And actually P is two Ps. Pansexual and Polygamous both claim the P, and the K is for kinkiness. Now the others I get, but can’t kinkiness be applied to all of the others, myself included? Can’t we all be a little kinky? Isn’t that just a way of saying “everybody?”
Ah, and there it is. This is what I am sick of. I am sick and tired of people in the sexual minority feeling as though they still aren’t included because who they are as individuals is not specifically defined in the broad terms for “not normal.” Doesn’t that suck? Because what everyone really wants is to be loved and included and accepted for who they are, and labels only separate us.
Honestly, the whole thing reminds me of the ridiculous one-drop rule, stating that anyone with even one drop of sub-Saharan blood was “black” or a “negro.” You could be 99.9% Irish, but still labeled as “black,” as if that were a blanket term that covered everybody that was not like the majority. Yeah, you’ve got your brown skin, black skin, mulattos, mestizos, and tons of other words to describe someone who is “not like you,” but everybody else just gets to be “white,” or “caucasian.” That’s garbage. And here I feel we are seeing it again, with people in our society so desperate for identity, and to be recognized, that they need a smaller and smaller box to get into.
When I was a kid I wanted to bring my doll into school for show-and-tell. Kudos to my mother for doing the right thing. She explained to me very clearly that I should not bring my doll in, because everyone was going to make fun of me. And then she let me bring it anyway. And everybody made fun of me. And I never brought the doll anywhere again. But as my mother knew, there was nothing wrong with me playing with a doll. That is a made-up societal rule that enforces the idea that men cannot be caregivers. And as a stay-at-home dad for many years, I am glad I played with that doll. Women can’t do this or be that, men can’t wear that or act like this. What are we so scared of? Why is it so hard to acknowledge that men can be sensitive and women can be tough? That women can open jars and men can change diapers? That women can bottle up their emotions and that men can cry? Are we so unsure of who we are ourselves that we need the boxes to do the hard work of self-definition for us? Why can’t we just love who we love, act how we want as long as it is not infringing on what someone else wants (for themselves, not for others – very important distinction), and live out our lives in peace?
I know there is an argument to be made from the conservative Christians, who believe that God is doing all of that defining for us, but this is just not true. I explain some of it over here, but let me flat out say that, according to the Bible, there is no male or female in Christ. We are all one! Divisions fall away when we love and accept each other into community! So please, no comments complaining that God wants men and women separated. That’s old, old-world stuff that Christianity is supposed to be saving us from!
I long for the day when women who are tall and fast can play on the men’s basketball teams, as long as they make the cut with no prejudice applied. I long for the day that men can throw on a dress in the summer because it is cooler that way, and nobody calls them “crossdressers” or “trannies” or anything else but “comfortable dudes with good fashion sense.” I long for the day that our souls matter more than our bodies. I long for the day that my daughter has all the superhero underwear she could ever want. And I long, most of all, for the day when the LGBTQIAPK community becomes the “P” community. Because we’re all just people, everyone of us different. And there’s no label on earth that can contain me.
And you either, I’m guessing.