On Being More Than Your Medical Condition

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/landon-wilson/facebook-genders_b_4808976.html

Landon Wilson

If I were to tell you three foundational things about me, they would be this:

one. I was raised by a single mom who gave me the strength and conviction to know what hard work and perseverance can bring.

two. I experienced loss in the worst way when I watched my grandmother, who was my hero and best friend, take her last breaths.

three. I should be embarrassed by the amount of times I’ve been caught blaring Miley Cyrus in my car, alone… but I’m not.

When you get to know me a little bit better, after we’ve shared dinner, inside jokes, and something more than first and last names, I might let you in on a little bit more. You’ll learn I’m a brother, an uncle, a blogger, a veteran. I’m a really terrible 20-something, and I can’t walk past pet stores or animal shelters without going inside.

If we get really personal, eventually I will tell you how it felt to hear the words “You have cancer” spill out of my doctor’s mouth and how isolating the following treatments felt. I will tell you how my clothes are worn as armor, my shirts and pants carefully chosen to hide parts of me from wandering eyes.

As luck would have it, last week Facebook conveniently made it possible for me to broadcast my gender as I see fit, allowing more than 50 options instead of the traditional binary ‘male’ and ‘female.’ Gone are the days of me quietly disclosing this part of my history. Now you can have full disclosure before we ever even speak! Fall upon my profile and you have the opportunity to know that I’m a Trans Person. Or if you really want to get specific, I could be a Trans Man. Trans Male. Transgender Man. Or my favorite, Trans* Man, male, person.

Perfect, right?

So it would seem.

But being transgender is not a gender. It is a war that we have fought and won with ourselves, one we continue to fight on a daily basis just to be heard, to be seen simply as people. As human beings. As no-disclaimer-no-clarification needed people. Quite frankly, Facebook, “they” is the pronoun that would suffice just fine.

Perhaps I come bearing a cross that I shouldn’t, but I’m going to be honest. When I saw that Facebook opened its options to include a “they” pronoun, I was genuinely impressed. After I realized the flood gates had opened to include the aforementioned customization of genders, I was met with shock and awe when I voiced the opinion that this was a terrible move for the “progressive movement.”

Facebook boasts of its options but yet, the redundancy is blatant. What’s the difference between a transwoman and a trans female? Gendervariant and genderfluid? Why does “male” or “female” need to come with a disclaimer when for so long we, as transpeople, have worked so hard to sway the world to see us as the person we know we are?

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/landon-wilson/facebook-genders_b_4808976.html

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