Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"She’s called Gillian Lynne, have you heard of her? Some have."

Kids know what they want, when they want it. Some things might seem a bit outlandish - candy, anything they can get their hands on at the checkout counter (even if they don't know what it is), and that toy that spins while you drip paint into it and creates exactly what you figured, a piece of paper covered with swirled paint (but if you do too much it's just a lot of colored paint on paper without much design at all) - but overall, they know.

A friend of mine asked for this link today, and mentioned that her "...son is 4, yes very young, but he only likes girl things. Plays dress up in princess dresses, plays with dolls and will get very upset if people try to get him to play with boy toys. Granted he is young, it doesn't bother me in the least bit! When you're little though, I think people feel 'tomboys' are more acceptable, and not the other way around. My husband and I will love and accept him regardless!"

This brought to mind a story I heard through Sir Ken Robinson in his TED Talk from 2006. It truly is one of my two favorite TED videos, the other being Clifford Stoll on everything. (links will follow) The story is about Gillian Lynne, the choreographer of Cats and Phantom of the Opera. As a child in the 1930's, she was doing terribly in school. She was fidgety, couldn't concentrate, and her parents were convinced that she had a learning disorder. Today she's probably be diagnosed with ADHD. Well they went to a specialist, and after awhile hearing about the problems that Gillian was having in school, he and her mother left the room - but as the doctor walked, he turned on the radio and then closed the door, and as soon as the door closed Gillian was up and dancing around the room. He turned to her mother and said, “Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn’t sick; she’s a dancer. Take her to a dance school.” And as the saying goes, the rest is history. 

Now, I know this isn't the same exact situation - but kids know what they want. 

If your four year old son wants to play with (what are labeled as) girl's toys, and play dress up, and dance around the house in a tutu saying he's a ballerina and just wants a sensible pair of heels, let him. If he turns out to be transgendered, or super fabulous and gayer than Richard Simmons singing a duet with Elton John in a bath house, or just a straight man who knows his way around Nordstrom, it's going to be okay. 

Kids may not remember exactly what happened in every situation, but they will never forget how something made them feel. And if a parent makes their kid feel unwelcome, or unloved, or like there's something wrong with them, kids will not forget that. They will always remember how they felt when their parents told them to go make some friends that are girls, or be more 'ladylike' - when the kid was just doing what felt natural and right. 

Let them be a kid. 

But more importantly - let them be themselves. Whoever that may be. 

TED Talks
Sir Ken Robinson - (click here to watch) 
Clifford Stoll - (COMPLETELY UNRELATED but click here to watch that one)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Seeing is believing

So there's a new guy at work named John, and I'm training him. Apparently everyone in our department feels like it's time to move onto bigger and better things, and they're leaving. So they brought in John.

He's a smart guy. IT degree, trained and served with the ARMY, picking up things quickly, etc. So could I really fool him? Could I really be passing?

We're talking about working out, and I mention that I want to bulk up and get more muscle. He says it's really not too hard with the right diet, exercise, and attitude to keep with it. Then he mentions that he did steroids for a time, and that really helped him out. "I bet it did" - I reply, and keep working. Without even missing a beat he comes out with, "well you're still young, you got plenty of that natural testosterone still. When you hit like 35, that shit starts to tank. Be ready for that."

I almost died right then and there. I tried to ignore the fact that I could feel the heat crawling up my chest, over my ears, and onto my face. It was a good thing he was behind me and I could just keep staring at my computer screen and nod as if to say, "oh yes I will keep that in mind, thank you good sir please do not notice how my face is for some reason turning the color of a sun-burnt Irishman".

I turn and shoot a look to James that may have looked something like, 'DID HE JUST FUCKING SAY THAT?! I WIN. WE HAVE TO TALK LATER" and yet not a sound came from my mouth. Luckily he just nodded back to me, fully understanding, and trying not to let his body shake too much from laughing silently.

There are two possibilities.

One - He has no fucking idea that I have DD's under this binder shirt and my dick is ordered off of the internet. I'm passing and he has no idea.

Two (much more likely) - He knows exactly what is going on, and is being the nicest and most understanding person I have met so far that is not one of my closest friends. He knows what I'm doing, more than likely has known a few trans-men, and knows how to make us feel better than we've felt for a long time (or ever for that matter).

Either way, it's fucking awesome. Sláinte, John. I won't tell if you won't.