Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Let's talk gender identity and sexuality

I started a new job recently, and for people like me there's this cloud hanging above our heads sometimes when we go somewhere new and surround ourselves with new people. Whether it's a new school, starting up at college or in my case starting a new job. That cloud being my sexuality. I'm comfortable with it but I get this feeling of "oh crap how will people react?" Then angry that i'm actually expected to introduce myself with that, like it's who I am when it isn't. So I started work and I didn't mention it till yesterday. I mentioned a cute girl and the friends I'd made paused and looked at me like I had three heads. It was coming, all the questions. "Oh, when did you realise you liked girls?" "That's hot!","You don't look like you're into girls" or worse. That look they give you when they think you may like them. Please, don't flatter yourselves. Luckily, those never came. I just got a "Oh so you like girls too. Cool, I've wondered what it's like to be with another girl." Sigh of relief and got on with my day. That was only a few people, not all will react like that, some guys will ask for threesomes or tell me how it's so hot and some girls might pull away from me like I have the plague.

Onto my main point, we aren't taught as kids about sexuality or about gender identity. That people could identify however they please, that someone born female, could identity as male or vice versa. We aren't taught the correct pronouns to use, acceptance, or even understanding. We are simply taught ignorance by not being taught anything at all. I, myself am ashamedly guilty of this. I remember in secondary school (high-school) there was a girl a year above mine who looked like a guy. Me being the ignorant kid did not know how to refer to her and my obvious way was "he-she." Let that sink in.
I victimised someone, and yet in one way was a victim.

I grew up in a slightly religious, muslim family. Certain topics were avoided and never discussed. Others my parents didn't think I needed to know. Keyword here, they didn't think. They were not aware that I should know certain things at the age of 9 or even 11. I remember in primary school (elementary school) the guys would insult others by calling them "gaylord." Think about that for a while. For one thing I went to a christian school so the term is literally insulting the god they believe in. Did they mean it in a literal way? No. It was the equivalent to calling someone a faggot. It was an insult, an attack. Simple as that.

Now, were those kids aware of it? No. They hadn't been told or taught differently. Just like I hadn't been told or taught differently. I had no way of gathering the correct knowledge on such topics, I was literally clueless. I grew up, I educated myself and I surrounded myself with an array of people. Another example, and hilarious story for you all was when I was about 9. I was in year 6 and we took sex ed. I got really embarrassed and hid my face throughout most of this video of a guy and a girl having sex and a woman giving birth. I went home to my dads computer, opened it up and typed "girls liking girls." That was the start of my full awareness to my sexuality. I knew before then, but i wanted to understand what was going on. Obviously the results I got were... you guessed it. Porn. I clicked on porn. To my innocent 9 year old eyes this was a whole other world that terrified me. I quickly shut everything and ran into my room. I was puzzled. I hadn't figured out what me liking girls meant, and i had uncovered something new.

Here's the best part. I was caught. I didn't know how to delete computer history then so my dad opened his computer saw everything and called me into his "office" to talk. My heart was pounding and I felt sick. Him and my mum were sitting on a chair, they opened up the websites and asked me why I was looking at this stuff. My instinctive answer was this, "my teacher told us to do research and this is what came up." Lie, lie, lie. They went quiet and proceeded to give me a talk of how liking girls was wrong and so on. I walked away feeling worse than before. Something shut off inside me and I hid the fact I liked girls till I was 16.

Sexuality is fluid. Everything is not black and white and there are shades of grey. We have straight people, curious people, asexual, bisexual, polysexual, transgendered people, gender neutral people. All kinds of people. At the end of the day, we're all just people, human. We are not our gender or our sexuality. This should be understood and taught. Stop teaching kids that there is a girl and a guy. That said girl and a guy are meant to be together and for crying out loud stop trying to teach people using fear. No, no and no.


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