I am somebody. I am ME.
And I don’t need anybody to make me somebody.-Louis L’Amour
Who am I?
The search for identity wasn’t only Buddha’s pursuit.
Each person’s own sexual and gender identity is core to this search. Am I a man or a woman? Who and what decides it? Whom am I truly and deeply attracted to? Should I conform to a norm that a majority or a community prescribes? What is making me want to fit in? There are so many questions carpet bombing my mind.
Pride month is celebrated all over the world. There are arguments or views on why the world suddenly awakens just one month in a year. It hasn’t been easy to convince organisational leadership to invite them to learn more and promote understanding for all.
In the organisation I work for, it has been an amazing journey over the past two years. To go from thinking “deviants” may be one or two to taking baby steps with five people identifying last year as a part of the spectrum to this year with over forty-eight people identifying themselves.
Gathering vocabulary that provides clarity on sexuality, being able to distinguish gender identity, body types, sexual orientation, and much more has been a powerful journey for me.
Human beings are more than the binary understanding we have been conditioned to.
To begin with sex is assigned at birth. That’s not just the factor that defines our sexuality. Our sexuality has more dimensions than the sex assigned at birth. Gender and sex are not the same thing.Fit is based on the genitals but may not be based on what the child may grow up and identify as. Gender is largely how you feel about yourself. It is what you believe about yourself and identify with. Gender is a social construct.
Let’s take another step forward. What’s your sexual orientation? Somewhere along the way, we begin to find ourselves attracted to or attracting potential suitors to procreate. Humans (and dolphins) are the only beings capable of engaging sexually in both recreational and romantic contexts.Here comes our attraction, which may be inconsistent or consistent with our identity by assigned sex or programmed or resonating gender. When did you first realise you were “straight” or “heterosexual”?If the answer is “I just knew”, then that is the case for others as well. Very naturally.
Lastly, there are expressions: how we choose to express our identity and the way we show up and interact with the world around us. The clothes we choose, the makeup we wear, and the roles we play in our intimate interactions.
The world of ourselves offers a window to find out more for those who are curious, open-minded, and non-judgmental about what is around us. The rules of that world include “don’t yuck my yum” and being “accepting” of other people by telling them “Come as you are.”