it lies beyond my ability to know.
i can empathize and try to imagine what it must be like,
but no nearer than this can i approach how it must feel
to be a girl living in a body that has a penis.
if i woke up tomorrow and found one of them between my legs, it would be a nightmare!
not because it would make me less ‘a girl’, but because it simply wouldn’t belong there.
my trans/girl daughter, at only seven years old, is quite able to point out
that she knows she is a girl, even with the penis, but she knows she doesn’t want
that particular body part. not because she thinks it means she is ‘a boy’, but
because she knows a girl shouldn’t have one.
i found this out by implying to her one day, that i knew of some ‘girls’ who also were born
with ‘a penis’ that live as the ‘girls’ they are, even tho they didn’t have the surgery to
get rid of that ‘boy-part’.
“but that would be weird”, she told me.”it would make me a freak.”
to her young mind, being a girl means she mustn’t have that ‘boy-part’. it is the only thing
standing in her way to being ‘all girl’, instead of girl/boy. which she used to call herself,
during the four year span of time when her insistance that she was a girl,
was a secret shared only with myself, and a cousin who was
the nearest thing zion (who also has autism) ever had to a best friend.
i guess i can wrap my mind around the whole ‘girl with penis is a freak’ thing,
because our society has programmed us all to know that girls don’t have them and boys do.
zion learned it early enough. and suffered in silence with the knowledge that she was
possessed of something that called into question her identity as a girl.
but reading some of the other bloggers in cyberspace that address this issue has got me wondering,
why do we decide based on body part who is what?
why are there only two possible choices allotted us for consideration?
what if the parts between the legs differ from the xx or xy ness of the person?
why do we use this binary code to divide all of humankind (or life in general for that matter) into
only female and male?
these aren’t surely the whole of it!
there are plants that have both female and male parts…in other words, the seed and the sperm or fecundating
agent. there are ferns that have more than a ‘binary’ means to reproduce, and many other life-forms that don’t
even require a secondary agent for reproduction. and not just protozoans either! consider the whiptailed lizard
among other higher life-forms that exhibit parthenogenetic abilities.
therefore this binary division doesn’t seem to be necessarily a reproduction issue.
is it perhaps easier to maintain the order of the current state of affairs with this arbitrary but clear-cut
division? especially since for quite a space of time the one gender was more empowered within society.
can it really be as simple as this?
then there’s my own inability to imagine myself with a penis. i’m only being honest about this
as an attempt to understand something so deeply rooted yet so much in question for me lately.
is it because i’m so much a part of the program(ming) by now that my efforts to see beyond physical
or genital assignment is hobbled?
it seems not possible!
as a member of the lgbt community for well over thirty years, at least tangentally when not involved
outright, i have known many trans/women. have dated a few as women…and a couple while they were men
and not yet contemplating a ‘change’. (tho i may have sensed their feminity and thus been drawn to them).
when some of my ‘sister’ dykes and queers would discuss the whole ‘can we allow transgender women to
attend a womyn only event’ question, i was among the most vocal that these folk are our sisters too!
i could never understand why it should even be an issue…but still, when the same question was applied
to include the transgender woman who hadn’t had the whole job done, (you know…the bottom surgery)
it seemed okay to debate her right to attend.
it is said that our children grow us up.
this is certainly true for me.
each one of mine has added to my stature as a person, as they grew to be their own person in time.
this is doubly true in the case of zion.
never before have so many of my deep set prejudices, ones about which i was blissfully unaware, been
laid bare for me to own and get over.
how i love my unique and awesome daughter.
so this is my promise
an oath unto sanity:
when shadows of midnight
in the place where
the sullied, threadbare
bed head to tail
with futures still looming
– mere weft on the warp strings,-
lest new cloth be stitched
i vow to unravel
the fabric surrounding me
and face the truth