Saturday, April 30, 2011

A letter to Gay Family Values

This is a response to a post about transgendered rights on a friend's blog that I recommend you check out.

Bryan and Jay! Long time, no post.

I'm loving this topic. It is something that has been bothering my quite a bit over the past couple weeks - ever since a Transgendered Rights bill was brought up in the House of Commons and then shot down because of the Senate and our current election (it only passed the House of Commons because of our minority government, not a single Conservative MP voted in favour of it).

Recently a read a Canadian novel called Annabel by Kathleen Winter, which is about growing up transgendered in rural Newfoundland. I thought it was a great novel, and I found myself relating to it far more than I ever anticipated - not only in the parent figures who often reminded me of my parents, but also in how the main character so often feels alone and trapped in a body that doesn't make sense to them.

I'm not trans.

But I am gay. And oftentimes I realize that, even as a 'relatively masculine' gay, I play with that gender variant line a lot more than I ever could've imagined I would. And that is important to me. For the past couple weeks I have been toying around the philosophical idea of being transgendered myself - or perceiving myself as such - because I am not exclusively male in a traditional sense. And I am not a woman. I sit on the fractured earth between the two continents of our cultural ideas, and sit there with millions of others who can't identify as one or the other.

Today I was filling out a job application. It had me check a box for my gender. Male or female. I checked male - but only as a formality. Inside I knew that it wasn't me in that word, and I wished I could've drawn a line between the two and place myself on that spectrum.

Some people encounter that moment every day. And moment of their existence.

I would highly recommend Annabel - if you can't get your hands on a copy in the States, let me know and I will ship one to you.

- Neal


  1. I think I will have to look for that novel, I'm not trans ether but I know how unsettling it can feel at times when you don't fit in the narrow gender constructs. (as I'm quite a mixed bag of masculine and feminine attributes)

  2. Go for it NothWest - it really is a pleasure to read. A little flowery in its language (which isn't bad - because it really animates the environment and heart of the story), but it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

  3. I think I'll have to look for that as well. I'm not trans either but I know quite a few people who are, and have had some similar thoughts to what you've been having.

  4. Well done, Neal. I have both masculine and feminine characteristics, too, so I know what you mean. An interesting subject, surely.
    And I've heard plenty of good things about "Annabel." I'm anxious to read it.
    Thanks for the post and the recommendation on the book.