Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Gender Shock

Yep, if you’re thinking along the lines of culture shock, you’re absolutely right…

I find myself saying this a great deal of times as an activist. But in my head. Lest I look like a fool…

Not too long ago, I found myself at a meeting with a group of young people talking about HIV and AIDS. During the lunch break, a young lady walked up to me. My automatic assumption, knowing myself and nothing else, was either that I said something very brilliant or incredibly stupid, and she wanted to ask me about it. And then she says “I want to see if you remember me…”

I took a moment, then another, then said quite matter-of-factly, “I absolutely do not remember you…sorry…”

Then the lady proceeds to tell me that she can understand. After all, she was a boy when I first met her.

Yep, the lovely lady that was talking to me right then was once a boy I used to go to school with. This is not to say that the experience was scary or jarring, but it definitely threw me for a loop at 10AM in the morning when I hadn’t had my customary cup of tea yet.

I don’t mind saying that I got the ‘thief-head’…

Because it’s quite easy to get the ‘thief-head’. There are so many beautiful men and women out there that we sometimes meet, know, laugh with and fall in love with, that were one gender trapped in another gender’s body. Like Sharon here…
(Photo courtesy Drag Queen’s World)

Moreover, I had not seen this friend of mine for a while. She had been out of the country studying and made this transition there. And it’s not that I had not met a transsexual person before. I’ve worked with, spoken to, and even had the occasional lunch date with some. But I believe it’s always something different when someone that you used to know before comes back into your life a changed person. Literally.

I can only imagine how that might affect people without the experiences I’ve had, like a mother who sees her child for the first time in years, or an ex-girlfriend of boyfriend. There’s always a thick air of confusion around transsexuality for most people. We either don’t know what it means, can’t imagine what it feels like, or can’t fathom someone doing something that drastic and altering to themselves when ‘God made them who they are’. And there are so many ways that transsexuality takes shape, from those who have a sex change to those who temporarily transition from one gender role to the other, to the gender queer, and sometimes even asexual persons fall into that category. I can say here that sometimes even I don’t grasp it all…

But I do grasp that this friend of mine feels more comfortable in her skin now. And, no matter who I remember her as, I could not look at her now and not see a woman. Because that’s what she is. Not a confused man or an abomination, but a proud, brave beautiful woman.


2 thoughts on “Gender Shock

  1. Yeah, that would be a little strange at first but I hope I’d be able to do the same as you and see them as the gender they are not the gender they were playing when I first met them.

    One thing to note is that I do not think ‘asexual’ means what you think it means. Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction to any gender. ‘Agender’ means not identifying as any gender.

    1. Yeah, I know the difference between asexuality and being agender. However some representations of the transgender umbrella apparently include asexuals as well. I have no idea why, though…should do more research there.

      Thanks for sharing Kate. Blessings.

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