Note: I wrote this original post in March of 2014 – a few months before I became an Auntie. The writer and I now have a niece, Hannah, a nephew, Timmy, and another niece on the way. Although this post is old it is HIGHLY relevant. Especially right now. So – preface aside – here is my 2 year old post. Thanks for reading!!
Very soon I will be an aunt. It seems odd that it has taken this long, since I am almost 40 years old, but being an only child has precluded me from this title. Now, the writer’s brother and sister-in-law are going to be parents and the writer and I are going to be the cool uncle and aunt. How could we be anything less?
This week, I read an excellent piece about the struggles of Transgender people and the preconceived notions that those of us who are CIS believe about them. It made me think of how we should be mindful of everyone. CIS people should not assume that they know anything about trans folks since the media has failed so terribly to depict them in anything but a stereotypical way. Things will improve with time, but right now we are still behind in our perceptions.
How does this relate to my future niece/nephew and my status as a cool aunt? As a future Sociologist and a Librarian, I feel that my goal will be to bring awareness to all types of humans. To help my friends and family, as well as co-workers and acquaintances, come to an understanding of others, no matter what. This starts at home, in both the actual and metaphorical sense. Meaning, you don’t have to know someone that is transgender to understand their struggles. You just need to have compassion and an open minded understanding of the fact that people are different.
Gender representation is constructed. It is fluid. How you feel is not how the person next to you feels. These are facts, not beliefs. So, with this in mind we must gain the capacity for understanding. We must give people the space they need to express themselves without fear. We must get to know each other as humans and act accordingly.
The first step is to stop saying things like, “I don’t BELIEVE that being transgender is real” or “if you are born with boy parts you are a boy, end of story” or, my personal annoying favourite, “if god made you a girl you will always be a girl, even if you change your parts”. Bullshit, bullshit, and double bullshit. You can believe anything you want, but your beliefs do not negate the fact that Transgender people do indeed exist. You can be as stubborn as you want, but learning new things about others is good and, despite your personal belief, will not hurt you. And don’t even get me started on the religion thing. If that statement is true, why are there thousands of babies born with ambiguous sex organs? Why do intersex people exist? You cannot pray away what is real and true and scientific.
So, having said all that, I hope that my niece is a happy and healthy child. I hope that she is able to understand herself and others through a lens of acceptance and not judgement. I hope that she can be an intelligent being that is willing to listen to others experiences and open to learning new things. With an aunt like me, how could she be anything less than super cool?
Peace, Chantale aka hippiegrrl