The World I Am In

I look at the generations in my own family and see shifting politics, thoughts and ideals. I also look at the generational groups as a whole and see good things coming and bad things coming. In my life I have seen so many social changes I can only imagine the kind that my children will see happen.

Just this week the Scottish Government managed to pass legislation that brings same-sex marriage in, which is great. There is still a lot of distance to go for equal marriage (the distinction is important, and if you don’t know what the difference is, the realisation that same-sex couples can’t have civil partnerships should make you raise an eyebrow).

Two areas I see major social change taking place in my child’s lifetime will be with respect to sexuality and gender. See, today we are on the cusp of a massive change, one that will have the same earth shaking resonance with my generation that same sex relationships had with the previous generation. That is of the idea of a spectrum of sexuality, and that of transgender issues being very important socially. Something still cloaked in taboo, the idea of being born a physically different sex to that of what you actually identify with is a greatly misunderstood affliction, one fraught with psychological confusion and a social acceptance that is very far away. It is admittedly a difficult one to really grasp, because a cis* person like me might really struggle to understand what “makes” some one think that way (of course, nothing makes someone think that way...). 

For example, asking many people who are not LGBT to try to grasp the concepts of what it means to be LGBT is almost impossible, which makes sense really - it'd be like asking someone who had been blind since birth to imagine what sight was like. As an interesting thought experiment, why not ask someone who identifies as straight when did they decided to be straight? It is a clever way re-framing the concept of “being" gay to someone who might not fully grasp it, or believes people "become" or "chose" to be gay.

The idea that transgender and pansexuality exists is one I can see slowly creeping in over the next 10 to 20 years – though I have no expert analysis of this, of course. I am just writing this from a keen observer on the outside with a stakeholder of a child about to come into this world. Make no mistake, the recent commentsabout the Dr. V story (a dreadful story mishandled) and the events on CNN withPeirs Morgan and Janet Mock, (sorry for the double Gawker link, Google is failing me) a wonderful, powerful women in the battle for understanding on trans issues, and a really impressive interview for showing the ignorance and sensationalism of the transgender issues that many deal with on a day to day basis.

Of course, I am a cis-male. I am straight. I am steeped in privileged, and many can argue I have a limited input into the discussion – and I would agree with you. A recent post online showed me interesting thoughts on men and their effect on feminism, and how despite their best intentions, can really make mistakes without realising it, and I am sure I have done so here. But I am open to education because I want my child to grow up understanding and not being afraid of the world that they will help to create, and the world that I am giving to them.

So yeah, I am going to be dad. Existential crisis Part 1.

*Okay, so “cisgender” is a definition that will be new to many; it is one where the gender that you were born with is the one you identify with, like me – I was born as a man and I identify as a man. Don’t think that needs a definition? Then you’re part of the problem.

PS: Google Chrome's spell check keeps telling me "transgender" is misspelled. :/