Welcome to the Gender identity sharing space. The above song was inspired by a question put to monastics at Plum Village (home of Thich Nhat Hanh, a place I am fond of) last Summer. The visitor to PV was asking what they felt about transgender and gender identity. While I can’t remember the whole answer it took the theme of inclusion and love, I do remember the first sentence; that me along with many others wrote in their note books: ‘The Buddha said, all our blood is red and all our sweat is salty, we are all human” and it became the chorus of this song.
I was born a man biologically speaking, though growing up I know there were ideas of being man that made me feel unsettled; aggression, the competition around sports (although I do love playing when it doesn’t matter if you win or lose), preoccupations on sex never seeing tender, drinking, not being encouraged to express love/affection; it feels to me that so much of this media driven, the creation of binaries around gender that try to establish an ‘either or’ thinking; I was blessed with open parents who didn’t mind how long my hair was or what I was interested in, poems, drawing, playing my guitar, singing, they encouraged that, though I know for others it’s not so easy.
I remember reflecting a lot on the ideas after writing the song and wrote in my journal, I feel cisgendered some of the time and sometimes I don’t, it’s a rainbow in there! Having the support to feel into that rainbow, that river, is what I felt growing up. I usually wouldn’t identify as transgender, or would I? Sometimes I would, though friends I have shared with who do identify trans describe stronger feelings than I have, toward playing with gender, and some have transitioned.
I would love to hear what you feel about your gender identity , described by Transgender Support as ”how we feel about our gender identity in our hearts and minds”.
Stonewall charity Acceptance without exception
Gendered Intelligence: understanding Gender in creative ways
and how about this to start? – thanks Ella/Ez for sharing this with me from the spoken work poet Andrea Gibson – more from Ella/Ez below…
Tona Brown, U.S
violinist/ soprano transgender activist- thank you for being in touch Tona : )
Hi Joe, thank you for reaching out and for thinking of me please share this video and subscribe to “Conversations with Tona Brown” on Youtube to hear the latest interviews from LGBT professionals and allies! Thanks for your work, thank you very much for mentioning me! Tona
In conversations with Tona Brown, Tona holds interviews, here with trans-attracted men, talking about experiences and also legalities around marriage, families, and partnership.
Renowned, loved LGBTQ activist within the African-American community, you can find out more here thanks again Tona, nice to have a little contact
friend, blogger, thank you – we shared this half an hour conversation earlier this year
Hey all, I’m Ez/Ella – you can call me either, or perhaps some creative mix between the two.. EzElla? 🙂 Joe’s interviews of
me some months ago marked a beautiful point in my journey of openly talking about my experience of finding more fluidity in my gender expression, something I’d only recently started physically exploring within the safe spaces of dimly lit LGBTQAI* nightclubs. As you can hear in my giddy speed of talking in the interview, finding the freedom and welcoming spaces to express my male side (in the way that manifests for me) brings me a lot of joy and inspiration. Since then, I’ve been feeling more and more at ease in expressing a fluid gender identity – helped by travelling in Thailand where the anonymity and appreciation of ‘Tom’ girls made me feel free in my self-presentation, later in the liberating, supportive drag scene in Birmingham, and then amidst my amazing Wake Up friends at the recent Wake Up Ambassador retreat.
While a part of me definitely resonates as non-binary (I believe society creates and maintains a restrictive narrative of what it means to be a ‘man’ ‘or’ ‘woman’) I am also very much drawn to the term ‘gender fluid’ as it evokes that ocean-like spaciousness in which to continuously explore, shift and grow with my self-expression and understanding. Though I find it challenging to arrive at a final, single theory on the meanings, origins and functions of ‘gender’, ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’, what I am sure of is the joy I feel when letting myself be in the world from a place of moment-to-moment authenticity.
I am such a believer in the incredible power of lovingly encouraging people to express themselves the way they feel; providing a heck load of spaciousness in which they can explore and self-define outside of the rigid limits of mainstream gender narratives. This alternative way of relating to others would create a more accepting, compassionate and diverse society – with this, people could feel safe and happy to be in the world as they truly feel. ❤
friend, massage therapist and artist sharing a few words
a piece of prose, thank you Kim
This is where it all started. It’s a normal afternoon, and there’s people in the market square, they’re standing in twos or threes, on the corners, or on the pavements, so that they intercept anyone why wants to get from A to B, they’re in their coats, they look like they’ve been there a while, in their hands are leaflets, they’re putting them in the hands of everyone who walks past, they reach out to them earnestly, they cannot be avoided, the words in their hands, are about a teacher, a teacher who teaches in the local school, the school everyone in the town attends, they had these leaflets printed, because they think it’s an abomination, because they think they need to stand in the streets in their coats in the cold grey early autumn day, telling people, that it’s a violation, letting this person teach, because they left school a Miss, and will be returning Sir.
That is how it all began. With being told about the people, who were out in the market square, leafleting. It was the summer before year 7, and I was sat on the sofa, and I’m still in shock.
I may never be over it. I’m glad. Mum tried to explain, she told me that they had a woman’s body with a man’s brain. I remember she used the word transsexual, I know the papers said it was a sex change. I took it in my stride. It made total sense to me. They were a woman with a man’s brain. They were going to have a sex change. They would return to work a man. They were a man. He was a teacher and a man. That was that. There were people in the market square flyering. I thought of him and what that must of felt like, and what he must of thought. How he felt.
I could talk forever, about the folk I have known since then, and loved, about the very many things that formed a part of a topic that lodged itself inside me, and has never left, putting down roots, in the centre somewhere if you sliced me through, I could talk about all the research I did, all the things I posted in the hope that by sharing these things, more people would understand, and the world would change, . . but the story, really, starts and ends here. On a cold autumn day, and people standing, in their outdoor coats, with leaflets in their hands.
Walther and Wilma
personal sharing of expressing gender from my friend and harmonica player in Human All
Gender fluidity – flexible identity
In search of myself, I came across a part of my personality that I have not realize for many years. I discovered my feminine side, the woman in me. I could never really imagine what it means that my being is made up of different parts. I carry not only the genes of my parents in me, but also their behavior to a certain extent. So there is my mother, my father in me and me as an inner child. But how does it feel to be in the role of my father, my mother or the inner child? I could never feel that. But this time I wanted to know. I wanted to see myself as my own mother when I was a little child.
I wanted to express my female part somehow. That took a long time. I put on clothes and wigs over and over for months, until I finally saw my female part well represented and no longer felt just as disguised pretending to be a woman. That was the most important step. I gave myself the name Wilma.
I was happy about my appearance and felt comfortable with it. But I was afraid to show myself in public. Finally, I made my face up pretty and put on the nicest clothes in a combination that suited me best. Then, I dared to go to town as Wilma for a couple of times. It was important to me that I could fully identify with Wilma. I returned in a very satisfied mood each time and liked to slip into my role as Walther the next day. This experience gave me the feeling that I had become a more complete and freer person. Gender fluidity is important to me, so that I can put myself well into the female or male parts and look at them from a certain distance. It’s a flexible identity.
Wilma dressed nicely and hugged a baby doll some day. I imagined that I was my mother and that the baby was myself as a little Walther. To make it feel more realistic, I chose a doll that is as heavy as a real baby. Now I am mother Wilma. My beautiful clothes and my pretty women like face help my imagination to be a loving mother with a young baby. In this way I try to create a happier new childhood in me and to catch up with everything that I needed at that time. Wilma is my mother. I am her child. She is weighing me in her arms. I’m Wilma, I’m my mother, I’m a little child, Walther. I am in the arms of my loving Mama Wilma, who is there for me.
shares a favourite quote by Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw
“Instead of saying that all gender is this or all gender is that, let’s recognize that the word gender has scores of meaning built into it. It’s an amalgamation of bodies, identities, and life experiences, subconscious urges, sensations, and behaviors, some of which develop organically, and others which are shaped by language and culture. Instead of saying that gender is any one single thing, let’s start describing it as a holistic experience.”
Video share from Australian charity, The Self Definition Project
This wonderful Australian site made this , felt it would be good to share here
songwriter Ha, video share from Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.
I came across this Q&A video on YouTube and Thầy’s answer here put a wide smile on my face – not sure if you have watched it before, my thoughts on Gender Identity align with what he shared here:
‘No outsiders’ campaign in Birmingham
Don’t know if u know about this Joe. Protests re the No Outsiders primary school pshe programme. Basically designed to teach equality
The link is related to protests that have been going on in Birmingham related to it. The focus has been lgbt in the protests
No gender identity focused but feels related
One thing that came up in the news is it is being portrayed as Muslim objections though there were also Christian groups and non religious others present.
My friend lives on the street featured in the video. She said there are two gain families on the street. Together four houses decided to hang up flags. They were threatened and then decided to take them down. Its caused a divide on the street that wasn’t there previously. I understand there us some sadness about this but a kind of stubbornness on both sides.
Description in the Sun newspaper and some personal thoughts
I can’t believe I’m sharing something from the Sun, though I found this article, doing so research and I found It informative and written in a easy to understand way.
In my own experience, I trust an emerging female gender expression in men if that makes sense, Im a man and feel glad to nurture my famine side – also feel the importance of listening and learning from Women, I get touched I can feel it by Women being angry at me for being a man, and then I wonder what is happening there? This is still something I’m living with but deferring to women perspective feels right. This has become a my thoughts on feminism maybe, but it feels relevant.
I suppose I’m sis gendered I would say at times and at other I feel the movement, especially if I’m with more masculine men.
sex and relationship education campaign petition
I recently found this campaign and wanted to share it hear, it feels to my own view that education around including all the colours of the rainbow, and some we don’t maybe even see, is an important step toward inclusion, moved by the shared words here above and Birmingham – I love your song Joe, you know that!.
activist, writer (simply radical blog) friend Kirsten, an articles looking at considering the vulnerability of women in conversations about gender identity.
Hi Joe, Basically I agree with this trans writer, pleading for more understanding of women’s concerns about preserving safety of women’s only spaces, alongside a recognition that more needs to happen to protect trans people. I think it’s an important
quoting from the piece… full piece here
‘We need to recognise that there are two disadvantaged groups here. We need to protect single-sex provision for women and affirm everyone’s right to break out of life-limiting gender norms, while simultaneously acting to improve trans lives, systems and services in ways that do not undermine women’.
and more trans stories in this essay series from the economist here :
You Tube Channel Queer Kids Stuff
A friend sent me this – a video explaining transgender to children from You Tube channel Queer Kids Stuff
“LGBTQ+ vids for kids! I’m your host Lindsay and with the help of my best stuffed friend, Teddy, we’ll be teaching you what gays mean, what LGBT stands for, what’s up with marriage equality and so much more! “