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I’ll Make a Man Out of You

Culturally, socially, and physically, we assign humans a gender based on appearance. Popular culture has very rigid definitions of ‘male’ and ‘female’ and imposes them on today’s youth at any costs. Seventeen, Teen Beat, the list goes on. How to make the cute boy in homeroom notice you with this new pair of jeans, this new brand of makeup, and so forth. Or, for the boys…If you buy this fancy car/watch/gadget, you’ll get her attention. However, GLBT youth and trans/gender non-conforming youth are ignored in mainstream media.

Where is the message for transgender or non gender-conforming youth? It’s not. There is, quite literally—No mention of gender variant youth in popular culture. These children can’t open a magazine, read a book, watch television (okay, maybe TV—but then one would have to consider is said gender variant youth portrayed in a way that is mentally stable, non-stereotypical, etc.) These youth are often ignored or made to feel inadequate or damaged by adults and their peers. If a child that is a girl, born in a male body—Attends school as a girl, often there is an outcry. Why? Underlying transphobia, homophobia, etc. Just because a little girl (yes, she is a girl. Despite her physical gender.) wants to be able to use a restroom in peace without her entire school knowing she has a ‘special situation’ means nothing. It does not mean this child is going to endanger other children.

Why does society see transgender and gender variant individuals as somehow ‘bad’, ‘sick’, or wrong? Do we need to go back to the phobia of the unknown? The homophobia that, “Oh, no, a trans woman said hello to me! She’s going to teach my 16 year old son to do body shots off another boy in a leopard print bikini if I dare to let her speak to my son’s class about her journey!” or, “That’s not a man, that’s a woman. What could she possibly have to teach my daughter besides how wrong she is for mutilating her breasts with surgery?!” I have seen this reaction to so many of my transgender brothers. It hurts.

Yes, things are getting better. Schools are more open, some even have policies in place to protect their trans kids. Some, however…Don’t. Are we going to let these schools and these kids slip through the cracks because their demographic and geographic locations will “Never change?” are we not going to march into the backwater places in Texas, in Kentucky, in the bible belt, the third world countries and the hovels. The ghettos and the barillos, the hollers and the mountaintops. and yell “Bring me your sons, that you force to wear suits when they would rather wear dresses! Bring me your daughters who hide in shame because they cannot escape their own bodies and the sexualization of a body part they quite possibly never wanted in the first place! Bring me your children, that desperately wish for you to see them as they see themselves!!” Yes. Yes we are. Why? Because these children need to know there is HOPE. They need to know that there are others out there like them, championing and supporting them. That they are not sick, not damaged, nor broken.

They need to know that it’s okay to feel this way. That it’s normal and safe.

We need to become a caring and informed populace with the tools to enable today’s youth to safely transition. To turn miserable young sons into confident and beautiful daughters that make their parents proud.

To turn daughters into sons, strong and efficient young men that will grow up and accomplish their dreams.

These children need to know there are others like them. In the media. Portrayed normally, just like everyone else. At home, they need to be accepted and loved, not forced into a role they can’t fit. In schools, they need to be treated with respect and dignity.

I challenge you to reblog this. To spread the word. Silence is deadly. I will not be silent any longer.


Call for Submissions!!

Hey all!

Are you a member of the GLBTQ spectrum, or a straight ally? Do you want to get your voice heard on topics such as advocacy, sex, gender identity, stereotypes, GLBTQ youth in mainstream media, and more? Just a Bit Radical is looking for submissions that fall into their first theme: ‘Silence’ Whether you submit a piece of artwork, an article, or a poem–It’s all welcome.

The zine will be published monthly online, and quarterly in print to the New England area.

For some ideas:

How has the media ignored GLBTQ youth today?

If we don’t come out, who will?

How non conformist gender identities are ignored and made to feel invisible by society

Why speaking out can save lives

What I wish I could say to _________

Draw an image that represents GLBTQ silence to you

The world is your oyster!!

Please email submissions to: justabitradical@ gmail dot com.

Submission Deadline: 4/15/2012