Monday, April 11, 2016

Something to Talk About


Participating in a meditation retreat, I recently spent two days on the campus of a small private college here in Maine. The students are affluent and high-achieving. Seeing them up close in the dining hall, it was clear that all of them had everything anyone could need or want: youth, health, food, shelter, cars, clothes, and of course access to an excellent education. Apparently this surfeit of goodies, robbing them of the romance of despair young people so desperately seek, forces them to seek new frontiers of misery and desire well beyond the pink and purple and green hair and disfiguring piercings and ubiquitous tattoos that are already so old hat as to be unremarkable. And so they have entered the Wild World of Genitalia (WWG).

In the WWG, people are dissatisfied with their gender. Either they want different reproductive equipment than they've already got, or they want nobody to know exactly what it is they do have, or they want no gender at all. They want to have sex with boys or girls or boys and girls or maybe even a third gender, or no sex at all. They want to use their own bathrooms or your bathroom and my bathroom, depending on the mood of the moment. 

Coincidentally, I learned about all this in the bathroom. I had chosen the one marked "W" since I am old-fashioned and still present myself as a woman, and in there, taped to the back of each stall, was a poster listing all the students on campus who had been trained in dealing with gender issues, so in case any arise there's someone to call for help. It was produced by the campus branch of the  LBGTQIA. I had to look it up. In doing so, I found out that I am a cisgender. This means I identify with the gender I was assigned at birth. The term was created for referring to "non-transgender" people without alienating transgender people.

College is so educational. Even going there for just two days, I learned so much.


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