Last night was the world premiere of National Geographic and World Of Wonder‘s Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric. As a women and gender studies minor in college, I foolishly believed that I knew everything that I needed to know about the trans community and would watch Gender Revolution as superior in the featured topics. Astonishingly, this documentary taught me a little more about myself and the ordeals the trans population must endure.
I will be honest and state that I have not been as comfortable with gender and it’s variants as I am now. When I began discovering my sexuality, my socialization from pop culture and media created stark views of gender roles in WLW relationships. I thought that there had to be the more aggressive, wears the pants, masculine woman, and the dainty flower, wears make-up with long haired woman in a lesbian partnership. In my past relationships, I would transform my gender presentation to reflect what society was telling me was right or wrong.
When it came to friends coming out as Trans I see now, that I was not as genuinely supportive in the beginning. When one of my best friends told me they were getting a mastectomy to affirm their gender presentation, I verbally backed them up through gritted teeth. I had a bit of lesbian-transphobia in me, and for awhile, could not accept that my friends, who were now distinguishing themselves as men could suddenly gain male privilege just from their outside appearance. I ended up being resentful of them; who had been sexually harassed daily by my side as a teenager, and their abrupt (for what I believed) alleviation from that terror.
Gender Revolution helped me comprehend how much privilege I have as a cis-person. Ally Hudson, the 12 year old trans girl in the trans youth program really struck a cord with me. In her story her mother discusses Ally’s suicidal thoughts at the age of SEVEN, and the how untrue she felt in her male body as a child. Her account gave me the necessary clarity that I needed to see that, being trans is a valid way of life and that when people declare they’re Trans they mean it.
My experience of gender is different from others, and I’m still trying to de-colonize my mind from the vigorous gender roles that society forced upon me. A trans youth mentioned in the doc that when it comes to topics like this, that we all must practice “radical patience”, which is something I need to implore when learning about new things, as well as with myself.
Thank you everyone at National Geographic, Katie Couric Media, and World of Wonder for a beautiful peak into an important existence in our lives.