I was intrigued a couple of days ago, watching a Nightline special on transgender kids. Lately, sexuality in the United States, a historically taboo topic, has taken the cow by its implanted testicles and put a face on the many shades of preferences. Well, it’s about time.
I enjoyed the piece about the mother who wrote a children’s book called My Princess Boy in honor of her five-year-old son, who, ever since he was a toddler, loved or rather demanded to wear dresses. This beautiful, brown-skinned child, with big, witty eyes feels much more at ease in a sequenced dress, and playing with Barbie, than in pants…and playing with Barbie. It took just a few words from his not much older brother for his mom to realize her son was going to vogue to his own techno. “Mom,” her older son said, “just let him be happy…” Out of the mouth of babes…
For someone who grew up in Germany, when it comes to sexuality, I’m amazed how the ‘Old World’ (that would be Western Europe) is more understanding than the ‘New World’ (more specifically the United States). In Germany, and in most of Europe, sexuality is a matter of fact. In Holland, gay marriage is a given. Italy, (yes, the country where the pope resides) has more porn channels than regular ones. France always praised and admired their transgender artists. In Germany sexuality isn’t a topic. It just is. A nude body on the cover of Spiegel, (German Times magazine) just is. The popular model/singer/talk show host Romy Hag, a transvestite, just was. Homosexual kids and adults, just are. Totally naked people in the English Gardens, (a park in the middle of the city of Munich) playing frizz bee, just are. The only reason why I bring this up is because we, here in the New World, are supposed to be the open-minded ones.
After all, this is the country that embraces innovation like no other. We make millionaires overnight; we come up with new vocabulary and new expression to match the mood of the moment. We make a family of five girls whose names all begin with ‘K’ famous for…absolutely nothing. We’re a creative, ‘go for it’ people that thrive on new ideas. But when it comes to sexuality, suddenly, it’s all over.
I blame our puritan forefathers for this. As ground-breaking as we are, somehow we can’t shake our, firmly planted in austerity, history. Nudity is nasty, masturbation, the devil’s work. Although these views have evolved (it sure took its damn time!) we aren’t ready to embrace all sexuality. Today, we still grapple with total equality for gay people. Transgender is wrongly considered a choice, just as homosexuality was years ago, and still is in some places. Anything beyond the archaic and prehistoric definition, man is man - woman is woman, man loves woman - woman loves man, is labeled ‘sexual deviancy.’ This expression from our ever-evolving language is supposed to refer to any sexuality other than the archaic definition. However, I’ve decided that sexual deviancy has become synonymous with ‘priest.’ And no, I’m not going there.
The man who feels he’s female, or the woman who ‘s convinced she’s male knows from an early age. Princess Boy, and Kim Petras, knew who they really are. In they’re minds, there’s no gender confusion. They might need some adjustments to make the body and mind match, but there is no doubt.
Kim Petras, the budding teenage pop star from Cologne, is the youngest person to undergo a sex change. I wasn’t at all surprise that Germany is the place where the surgery was performed. The psychologists and doctors evaluating the sixteen-year-old agreed that waiting two more years for her to turn eighteen, thus adult, was unnecessary. Several conversations with Kim, who used to be Tim, convinced them that, although she was only sixteen, she was ready to make the cut. Now, a popular, beautiful and complete young lady, Kim said it best. She wants her fans to know that it’s all right to be who you are. Wise words indeed.
In the meantime, there’s been an outcry in this country because the producers of Dancing With The Stars have invited Chaz Bono to participate in the show. Some have vowed never to watch it again because a man they don’t approve of is in it. Deep-seated fear and the need to point a finger are ingredients for hatred. Princess Boy and Kim Petras have families that encourage their children to become the person they were intended to be. For every transgender child with a positive support system, there are thousands of others who suffer daily. They’re forced to live on the fringe, shunned by society and their family. They often end up selling their bodies to pay for the medication that allows them to maintain their identity.
There is no conclusion to this topic, but I’ll end on a positive note. Never before has there been a generation of young Americans more open and inclusive than now. They don’t care what your sexual orientation is or what you wear. Gay marriage is a right, it just is. Fortunately, that right continues to gain ground, and included in this conversation are the rights of transgender people.