When my daughter was 3 and then 7 and then 10 and a hundred times in between we have told her that we ACCEPT her. Her choices, her sexual orientation, her views, her political views, her spiritual views, would be accepted. We would listen. We would accept. I remember telling her at 7 years old that she could be whoever she wanted to be, and had the choice to love whoever she wanted. That was the day I explained to her that there were men who loved other men just like I loved her father. There were women who loved other women like her father loved me. I told her she could love who she wanted and be who she wanted. She informed me at 7 years old that she would choose to be with a man. We informed her if that ever changed we would be ok with that. The important point here is she knew she was accepted!!!!
Our family has always been open to discuss all issues from abortion to feminism to gun laws to ANYTHING. Our rule is no judgment. I slipped up once, because I am a strong proponent of breastfeeding by saying I don’t know how I would feel if someone I knew chose not to. She, being the brilliant one that she is said at a very young age that it would be a woman’s choice how to use her body and said what if she’d been abused and was uncomfortable with that. Yep, she is an awesome girl. And my temporarily closed mind on that subject opened right up to all possibilities of CHOICE.
I do not have concrete thinking. There is no cement in my brain. My brain is like a sponge seeking more enlightenment, more growth, more understanding of EVERYONE.
When my daughter was 8 I had a good friend that identified as transgender. She told me she was born a male but always identified as female. She wanted to be called she. She wanted to be known as transgender. We talked openly about her transition that was not a transition at all for her but for others, in front of my daughter. My friend always knew she was female even at age 3. Her family, society, every single person around her claimed her as a male. They disregarded her knowledge of herself that she was female. She lost everyone. I didn’t know at the time how that would feel. I was appalled. What the heck did it matter that my friend finally at 60 decided to tell the world what she knew her whole life, that she was female!
She passed away of cancer many years ago, before all of the bathroom issues came about. I never even thought ONCE about her being in the female bathroom with me and my daughter. She was a female.
My daughter has always been an advocate for gender equality as have I. My daughter, I must say, is more educated and has educated me on some terms that I did mis use. I am thrilled to be educated so that I can respect each person AS THEY ARE.
Tonight she had me watch hours of Jeffrey Marsh videos/Instagram/interviews. I mistakenly called Jeffrey Marsh “he” and she corrected me EVERY time and said “They mom. They identify as neither male or female so you say they.” My daughter is telling me that there is no pronoun in our language for someone who does not identify as male or female. “They are using a pronoun that is not male or female. There are no singular pronouns as an option. Do you understand now?” Yep, honey. I understand. I love that my 21 year old is correcting her 45 year old mom. She helped me with the understanding of: non-binary, gender-queer, gender-fluid. After watching some interviews with Jeffrey I started tearing up. In one of their interviews they said that their family who didn’t recognize who they are. He spoke about advice for parents in his book How To Be You to “listen.”
I have to tell you that listening to Jeffrey made me cry. How many of us just want to be listened to. How many of us just want to be RECOGNIZED. Seriously, can you just see me??!!!!
It made me think what DO people see? A rape victim? A woman with PTSD? A woman with a muscle disease? And what stigmas have they ASSIGNED to me based on this? Why do I have to be assigned because of my labels? Why can’t my labels be worn proudly with honor and no judgment attached?
I was thrilled to be diagnosed with PTSD. It explained all of everything I felt inside.
I was thrilled to be diagnosed with a muscle disease. Now I understand what is happening to my body.
I love how Jeffrey speaks about how they are not different.
Because why is not like you have to be different?
Our society defines normal in a way that makes most of us feel different. I’ve never felt “normal” but I’ve never felt different. I have felt special. Special in my capacity to love all creatures on this earth, to love humans that are kind, to have no condemnation for a choice. I recently wrote a poem/story about if my abuser was tied to a post what would I do. In the end of the story, I cut him down and walked away. I wish no harm on anyone.
People are in an uproar that Angelina Jolie’s child does not identify as male or female. People are in an uproar that on the Voice last night, a performer was and called himself a drag queen.
I watched it. It was a badass performance!!! I recognized the pure talent, the courage, the beautiful costumes, etc.
I cut my hair short and comments came pouring in, most positive. A few questionable saying that I could totally pull off lesbian now. As if to pull off lesbian I needed this hair cut. I honestly wish no one said a word. Who cares what my hair looks like!!!!!I cut my hair off to liberate myself from what society deemed beautiful for women and for what my family expected of me (x family). This hair cut feels like me! I love to spike it and mohawk it. I love to wear dark make up and red lipstick and all black clothes. I love to wear no make up and pjs around the block in my wheelchair. I love to just be me.
Everyone who boycotted the voice for allowing a person to dress in drag and perform? Everyone who would not want my friend pee in the stall next to me in the woman’s bathroom because she happened to be born with a penis but was no more a man than I am? Not that I am saying a penis makes one a man or not. The opposite obviously.
I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorder, Lyme disease, bone disease, seizures, and PTSD. Those labels help me to understand myself. There is no stigma for me to admit these parts of myself. They are just parts of myself. I look like a woman although depending on how I dress (I often wear my husband’s old clothes) and my mohawk hair, I will have some looks of wonder.
When I was 19 I kissed another 19 year old and I didn’t like it. I LOVED it! I never questioned what that made me, I never judged myself. I never kept it a secret. My daughter knows about it as well as my husband. I didn’t overanalyze why or what or anything. At the time I was with a very abusive male. Shortly after I met my husband, fell madly in love, and knew he was who I was to be with. He was the one for me. He accepted me. All of me. Every part. He knew that I did not fit a “mold” but was just my own me. He loved me for me. I had not felt that before. Unconditionally.
I realized though, tonight, I don’t think until watching Jeffrey’s videos did I ever hear anyone say that it was OK to be who I am. To basically have permission to just be me. He even stated in one of his videos that your purpose can be just being you!!! I don’t want to put that in quotes although it may should be but due to my memory issues (seizures ) I hate to really quote anything or misquote.
Jeffrey also spoke about being understood.
Do you know I have wanted to be understood my entire life and never really felt understood. I spoke at length with my husband tonight about the seventy of my depression due to the PTSD and seizures and deterioration of my body due to this muscle disease. How I long to be understood! I mean really, I have a lot on my plate here! I told him if I could just take away one rape, or a few molestations, or the muscle disease..one off my plate would help.
Then my daughter showed me these videos of one person saying they ACCEPT a person for who they are. I cried because I felt understood. I am not comparing. I am saying we ALL want to be accepted. I wanted to be LISTENED to after being molested. I wanted to be ok being however and whoever I wanted to be. I did not get that option. I chose to give my daughter the option of believing and BEING who she wanted to be. And let me tell you she is a badass daughter with strength like I’ve never seen.
In our family, and when I say family I mean my husband, daughter, and me, we love. We do not judge. Be Jewish. Be atheist. Be Christian. Be you. If that you is kind, compassionate, and accepting, then we embrace you.
If you want to be in an uproar about something, be in an uproar about how rape and sex trafficking exists! Be in an uproar that families persecute, punish, and banish their own children for not conforming to what they want. Like me, who finally spoke my truth and lost everyone. Everyone! Imagine had I been non-binary!!! Imagine had I been ANYTHING but what they wanted me to be. I lost my family like my friend who was transgender lost hers due to her transition and I lost mine due to my transition to truth. We both spoke our truth and lost everyone. But not everyone. Just those who perhaps were never there anyway! Those who would never have accepted anyway. We then saw the few that were true!
I am now me. I encourage you to be you, in love, and in acceptance. Be true to you. It took an individual on instagram to make me feel accepted for HOWEVER I want to be!!!!!! As I am grateful for that, I should have heard it a thousand times before. Like my daughter hears.
Let your children know they are heard, and they are ok just as they are.
Listening to people rage on twitter over a drag queen and knowing most of a town supported the man who molested me is a great indicator of what is important to so many. The priorities of society are not where they should be.
I know this blog post was all over the place. It was more of a stream of consciousness writing.
Honoring the woman my daughter has always been. Honoring those who advocate for truth and acceptance. Honoring those who choose to be present. Innocent are being persecuted. I was persecuted for being sexually abused and speaking about it. So many are persecuted unjustly. While rapists walk freely.
I will close by saying this: It took Jeffrey Marsh to tell me I was accepted for who I was for the first time in 45 years and they don’t even know me. Let’s change that for our children.