This weeks blog was triggered by this photo that one of my friends shared on facebook. The photo can be found here and on the face of it looks innocent.. until you read the text. The photo was posted by a proud father who’s son, Beau, was born with a condition called Fibular Hemimelia which resulted in him having to have both his feet amputated.
Obviously that has caused Beau’s life to be not as straightforward as for anyone with feet, and he seems to face adversity strongly and with a brave face. But when you read a bit deeper you realise that Beau is facing many problems, all be it caused by a different problem, that anyone with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) faces.. so it was very unfortunate that Jason chose to blight what could have been a wonderful ‘I’m proud about my son’ post by roundly being critical about Caitlyn Jenner getting a reward for Courage.
Not only did Jason question the award, but he refused to refer to Jenner as anything other than Male and using her former name. In doing so he instantly showed by Jenner’s award was so deserved, by choosing to be so public with her transition Jenner immediately opened herself to criticism, transphobia (as displayed by Jason) and bullying.
All people who are born with disorders, or who develop them in life, which cause them to be different from the ‘crowd’ face very similar adversity, including acceptance, discrimination, bullying, harassment, fear and just the general struggle to try to broadly fit into the crowd. In that respect Beau is no different to Caitlyn, or as Beau is a child, any of the many children and young people struggling with conditions, be it GID, Fibular Hemimelia, Deafness or any other condition.
Both this blog, and the work Caitlyn is doing through being so public in her transition is simply trying to educate, and sadly it’s not an easy job. As Jason proves, you’d think someone who’s son is facing so much adversity might actually empathise with someone who has GID, but I guess because it’s not a physical ‘disorder’ then he doesn’t belive it exists.. so I’ll leave a few thoughts.
ADHD? Epilepsy? ASD?
Yep all exist, but are ‘invisible’ conditions and so does GID.. but there’s a way of flipping round GID and realising it ‘can’ exist and that is the fact there is a ‘physical’ problem that can easily result in Gender Dysphoria (which is when GID is actually causing mental problems as the person really isn’t comfortable with their body), that condition is ‘Intersexed’.
Intersexed is when the physical genitals of a person are of BOTH genders, the chances are the brain, however, is of one or the other gender, and worse, often surgery is performed early on to make the baby a single gender.. get it wrong and that child instantly has in effect Gender Identity Disorder and almost certainly will be Dysphoric..
So if things can go wrong obviously with the physical make-up of a body, and we know the brain must be gendered in some way, otherwise you wouldn’t have female and male characteristics in the way people act, and we know Mental Health conditions exist – there is absolutely no reason what-so-ever why Gender Identity Disorder can’t exist!
The fact of the matter is, of course, that is does exist – but because it’s totally invisible it’s easy to dismiss it at something it isn’t – however it’s a proven medical condition and researchers even are pretty sure how it happens.
For those who are still with me, when you are developing in the womb everyone starts off female. It’s actually chemical/hormonal triggers that cause a female body to change gender to male, at the same time, other chemicals will trigger the gender change in the brain to whatever it should be. So for a female, the only chemical trigger is to ‘set’ the brain, in a male two triggers go off, one for the body, one of the brain. If any of those triggers, for whatever reason, don’t go off properly, that’s how Gender Identity Disorder happens.
Now I should add, that I have absolutely no issue with the concept that some people have that gender is just a fluid, natural, flexible entity. The point I’m making above, however, is the strict medical definition, however if you see gender variance as natural that’s absolutely fine. But when educating, or informing, working on something tangible such as above, should make it a whole lot easier to understand.