My partner, Tom, sent me a link to an article yesterday: In Indonesia, Non-Binary Gender is a Centuries-Old Idea. He is aware of the journey I've been on this past year: learning about and owning my own privileged status in this culture. I now see how that privilege harms others and am learning to use the lens of Intersectionality(i.e.: "The study of ... intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination") to transform the ways that I think, speak and act.
For the past 20 days, Elizabeth Cooper of Queer Body Love Coaching has hosted an informative and fascinating free online Queer Body Love Speaker Series (click here to listen to today's interview and join the event). Through this series and a year of reading, listening and reflections, I have come to see how limiting to the human experience are binary views (male/female; right/wrong; love/hate; fat/thin, et al).
After joining me in a retirement-from-teaching ritual a few years ago, a dear friend gave me a beautiful card, which contained a prophetic quote from Walt Whitman. It ended with the suggestion to:
...Re-examine all that you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
That re-examination and dismissal of "all that insults [my] own soul" has led to embracing and honoring the fluidity of identity for everyone throughout their lifespan--a personal act of Independence from the oppression of a (Fill-in-the-number)-size-fits-all approach to being. As I (and Andrea) said in the last blog entry, "We are all a 'plethora of ands.'"
Happy Independence Day!
Additional resources (not necessarily directly related to this post, but with a mostly Social Justice lens):