Sometimes Gender is not Black and White

I went shopping today with my son, Andrew and my daughter-in-law, Jasmine. While Jasmine paid for her purchases, my attention was drawn to the cashier.

Tall, slender, unisex glasses, hair shaved short in the back and up one side with the top and other side longer- at least I think that’s what it looked like, wearing a definitely feminine shirt, dark nail polish with rings on at least 3 fingers none of them overly delicate or big and chunky, Batman lanyard, Batman bracelet, slightly lower voice.

My eyes strayed up to examine features- being so thin, chin sharp, small mouth…. I stopped at the eyes. Guarded. No earrings.

Every now and then I will come across a person who I want to remember to use as a character in one of my stories. Usually it’s their appearance or a mannerism. I have never had a fictional transgender character in my writing. I have thought that maybe I should but it never felt right.

And then this retail cashier caught my eye. How many times did I not even give a cashier a second glance? I couldn’t look away. I kept adding more observations to my mental list- nails polished but the quite short, lanyard and bracelet sort of matchy, was that eyeliner? I wasn’t even aware of each item I added to the list. My thoughts just flew.

Then the transaction ended. “My name is Kevin, if there’s anything I can do.”

Kevin. So, he was a boy. Or a transgender guy, maybe early in transition. Or a transgender girl who had not come out. Or a girl named Kevin. Or maybe he was simply gender fluid. Or gender queer. Or maybe Kevin was just Kevin, a teenager with very unique style. I admit I was curious about Kevin but not in the same way so many others probably were.

When I looked at Kevin, I felt so many different things. I knew that whoever Kevin was, life would not always be easy. I hoped it was easier than it probably was. I hoped people accepted Kevin. I hoped Kevin’s parents fully appreciated the beautiful individuality of their child. I hoped that Kevin had a long full life of love, a life free of bullying, stereotypes, judgment and ridicule.

Most of all I hoped that when people look at Kevin, they see someone’s child, a person who deserves the same things we wish for our own.

And yes, I am curious about Kevin. I feel a story there somewhere- maybe with my first transgender character or maybe with a boy named Kevin who doesn’t follow any gender binary. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.


6 thoughts on “Sometimes Gender is not Black and White

  1. I agree, this is not an easy life. It must be easier than living a lie. I’m so glad that today people have more freedom to live their lives the way they want to.


      1. Thanks from me as well, Kat…but I wanted to just say specifically to pennylanethoughts a thank you for reading Kat and being aware and that I agree with what she commented. I DO want to add something prompted by her comment though: there is a huge difference and distinction between sexual orientation and gender orientation. I repeat: gender orientation DOES NOT equate to sexual orientation!

        This is very important to emphasize, especially for MtF transgender humans such as myself who are assumed to be transvestites, gay, drag queens, or cross-dressers. I am none of those things…though technically I guess my sexual orientation is lesbian, as I am in love and long married to my wonderful wife and have always felt attraction to women, and have also always identified as a female.

        But one of the biggest barriers that MtF face is that when we are out publically, and early in transition, the immediate assumption of the vast majority of the people we meet is:

        A. There goes a transvestite/drag queen. Transvestitism and being a drag queen are sexual fetishes that homosexual men engage in for sexual fulfillment, and as they are gay, they look for fulfillment with other gay men who are into people who dress this way. Except for those individuals who are repressing their true nature as female, none of these individuals who would be called transvestites or Drag Queens identify as female gender-wise…they identify as men, who are gay, and enjoy and receive sexual pleasure from dressing up like a woman and flaunting their appearance to other men in the attempt to intrigue them and gain sexual connection.

        B: There goes a cross-dresser…who is a male, identifying as male, but who dresses as a woman to receive sexual pleasure for themselves by the act of dressing. Usually a cross-dresser identifies as a straight person sexually and always as a male gender-wise.

        It is very important to be mindful of this: the outer presentation of being that you see may or may not have a thing to do with gender orientation…but gender orientation has NOTHING to do with sexual orientation! The two things are very separate and distinct from the foundational understanding of one’s own gender identity.

        If you, reader, consider your own gender orientation, and then consider dressing as the opposite gender…and then think: does this excite you sexually? (and I am not judging right or wrong if it does, btw, that has nothing to do with my point)…If yes, then you are a cross-dresser or transvestite if male, and a cross-dresser if female (I don’t know if a female can be called transvestite).

        However: if you dress as the opposite gender, and feel damn stupid, uncomfortable, and want to squirm out of those damn weird clothes immediately…congratulations! You just approximated the first molecule of the dysphoria and horror that transgender people feel when they are forced into the uniform of our prison camp society’s expectations of how we should present!

        I too, get no sexual thrill or frisson from dressing…whether I dress as who I truly am or whether I cross-dress to present as “the male” that my DNA cursed me with…I only get sexual pleasure when I am with my dearly beloved, the individual I fell in love with and married and am entwined with forever.

        There are no times that I can ever remember that sexuality and gender orientation crossed wires in me, and from my own research I have discovered that this is pretty much the way things are for nearly everyone…gender is hard wired in, and we are discovering that sexuality and sexual preference is more fluid, but is still pretty much hard-wired in as well.

        So sorry for the long comment, Kat…but I find that many people who are repulsed by transgender people lose their revulsion when they understand that a transgender person is not walking around in public all aroused and lusting…and then they “get it”, and realize the plight of a woman who is trapped in the body of a man and cannot just get out and enter into another body as she would a car she hated to drive!

        Again, much love to pennylanethoughts for her open support for gender freedom of expression, and I offer my comment in the spirit of seeking to broaden understanding, and not one whit in rebuke or such thing. 🙂

        Love you as always, KittyKat my friend!!!

        Love, Charissa Grace ❤


      2. Thank you, ‘Rissa! I have been literally running running running lately and while I made a mental note about the gender identity/sexual orientation distinction (which is a post I really want to address when I can give it the time and attention it deserves), at the time that I checked in on my blog comments, I didn’t have time to do much.

        Your reply is an excellent explanation. Thank you again!!!

        Liked by 1 person

Hi! I would love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s