Monday 25 March 2013

Gender: Drug of choice?

I've been reading a certain author's work for years, at least since the late nineties. I love her writing. It challenges and transports me in ways that are so very singularly hers. No one else does what she does. She has a way of trapping you in the story before you even know where you are and keeping you there until she's done with you. You're not always sure what's happening because you go on the journey along with her characters - and they're not always the most reliable of witnesses. All of her characters are well-considered and written, but she writes female characters with a deftness of touch and understanding that I have always admired immensely.

Today I learned she is transgendered. I had absolutely no idea. It has never crossed my mind that she is anything other than a woman. And that's because she isn't. She is, was, and always will be a woman. That's who she is. The fact that I had no idea shows you just how little relevance the body you're born into has on who you are. For me, she is an exemplar of women's writing and the fact of her being transgendered changes that opinion not one whit.

The Richard Littlejohn piece in the Daily Mail that singled out and bullied Lucy Meadows, a woman who had courageously stood her ground and lived her truth, shows you just how achingly archaic the mind-set of some parts of society still are. Lucy was driven to suicide because of who she was. That is more wrong than mere words can ever express. We need to be teaching younger generations acceptance not aggression in the face of difference. The conformity writers like George Orwell warned us about should be feared, not encouraged. Gender constructs are the drug of a world that should be moving forward. Gender is an anachronistic tool for keeping the unruly masses in check. It's holding us back when it simply doesn't matter any more.

It takes all sorts to make a world.

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