Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding the "everything in between"

I met a transgendered person today--the first I've ever met.  I didn't even know this person was transgendered until I overheard them mention it in conversation.  (Hopefully I heard right!)  And that was a bit of an epiphany.  I was glad that I got to talk this person a little before I knew that they were transgendered.  I am glad that I didn't know their initial or current gender even at the end of the conversation.

I'm also glad that I saw previous posts written by transgendered people about themselves, transgenderism, and do's and don'ts.  Thanks, friends!

Anyway, gender roles and sexual identity.  I perceive at least three groups of people's attitudes toward gender roles:

1.  Some people have fixed perceptions of gender roles, and feel comfortable filling the roles that they perceive are assigned to their particular gender.
2.  Others have somewhat fixed perceptions of gender roles, but also feel comfortable (and more true to themselves, perhaps) breaking from those perceptions and acting in ways that do not fit with societal perceptions.
3.  A third group has few expectations for gender roles, and is okay acting in whatever way they feel.

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I think all three groups are fine.

It seems easier to break from societally-based (or perceived that way) gender roles when one comes out ... or at least I've found that this is the case with me.

When I come out, I feel less obligated to watch sports and to be masculine all the time.  For some reason, I feel like the burden of pretending to be a traditional man has been lifted.  Or maybe it's just that I no longer feel like I ought to hide my sexuality behind a cloak of societally-defined masculinity.

It's as if when you come out, sexuality is what it is, and so are gender roles.  How closely I fit the societal "man" doesn't affect (I don't think!) my sexuality.  [Except that most gay guys seem to prefer more masculine men.  But that's for another post.]  My sexuality affects my attitude towards gender roles insofar as it helps deconstruct those attitudes and makes it easier for me to be who I am and participate in what I really wish to--not in what society expects me to.

I love powerful lesbian women and timid lesbian women.  I love happily engaged career women and their housewife counterparts.  Likewise, it's fun to think of a gay guy who wants to work in the home (as a house-husband), raise the kids, etc.  Or to see a career man.  To see a powerful, commanding gay guy and a timid one.  And everything in between.

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