This blog is not what you think it will be about. Each week in the room I use on a Wednesday evening, to see my Gender Queer, Non-Binary and Transgender clients, there sits a box of Man Size Tissues. These are on the table between us.
I did think to remove the box as it frustrates me, but then I thought about why I want to protect my clients and myself from the world. After all, this is the world we all live in. Some clients voice their frustration about the box of tissues and others say nothing. I then question the box – after all, research indicates that men on the whole are not good at talking about their underlying issues or asking for support at a time of crisis. So surely if we have to have gender binary tissues then women’s size tissues should be the bigger ones. Unless the ‘man size’ tissues are akin to men during a midlife crisis buying sports cars as a reflection of the size of their, uhm… extension of their ego.
As someone who has recently started identifying as Gender Queer, on a good day I am able to overlook the emotions that this tissue box triggers in me. I am able to overlook the public toilet, the gym changing room and clothes shop. All of which I have to make a choice about with regards to where I am at with my Gender Queer identity. When you identify as Non-Binary it appears the world around you is not ready for us.
Even some work situations are not ready for us. It seems a lot of them are where they were with Race or Sexual Orientation issues twenty years ago. Some employers put pressure on the person coming out as Non-Binary to tell others or to conform to the long-standing oppressive culture such as the dress code within the organisation. I hear from friends and clients that situations arise where the organisation they are working in keep pressing/pushing them to fit into their neat boxes of gender. When they challenge this, they feel that the only way was to leave the negative environment. Something about them was too much of a challenge for the organisation. This shows a complete lack of awareness of the privileges their employers have in life.
Currently, I am having soul sessions to support the design of my next tattoo. It is hoped this will begin the process of inviting joy, aliveness and colour to my shifting identity, an identity that is in a place of a discovery. It feels good to start to support something that I have kept hidden find colour. In a recent dream and in the subsequent soul session, I talked about a vast spectrum. On one side lies a beautiful peacock with many colours and on the other a hyper alpha male sailor. The dream was the same that I had at eight and sixteen years old, and at forty years old, each a significant developmental age, where I gain some specific gender binary bits and loose others.
I was really anxious to speak to my GP about a referral to the Gender Clinic. They were surprisingly supportive, but we shall see how long that referral takes. I have heard of really difficult scenarios, to me I have stopped feeling like this is a man size issue and am over man size tissues. All I advise for clients or for people feeling similar to me, is to reach out for support if necessary. It remains important to know that these days, there is some great support out there to be made use of.
At the moment I am missing the middle element regards how these two sides interact with each other, if they indeed do at all and how exactly they interact with the world at large. Having this realisation was useful as it made me realise that there is still a long journey ahead of me. This middle element is striving for connection, community and fun. Thank goodness 2019 is the year that journey can begin.
New Gender Pronoun: They or Them or (just) Joel