For LGBTQ people, coming out is a huge step in the process towards self-love and validation. For someone representing the T in that acronym, gender confirmation surgery may be the ultimate step in becoming their most authentic self. Thankfully in many countries around the world this hurtle is becoming easier to overcome as our societies become more educated and less discriminatory.
However there are still too many stories of verbal and physical abuse, abandonment and stigma. That’s why for me sharing stories is so important. It’s a small step that can help educate and hopefully even trigger empathy.
When our hearts begin to empathize with people we previously considered strangers or incompatible with our own set of social constructs – that’s progress and it can be incredibly powerful.
Though I am a gay man, in my younger years I admit to not understanding how the T fit into the LGBT community. For that matter I didn’t understand how a person would want to confirm or reassign their gender.
That’s because my perspective was limited and empathy hadn’t entered the equation. At that point I had not met anyone who had transitioned genders or was considering it face to face. My knowledge on the subject was limited and my capacity for empathy was also meager. The opportunity for honest and direct communication is sometimes the most powerful motivation for changed behavior or attitudes.
I am cis male. I look and represent myself to the world in our society’s current and traditional construct of what a man is and/or should be. I’m very comfortable in my maleness and my body. I’m at home in jeans, t-shirts and a ball cap. I’ve sported a beard for over two decades, simply because I’m most comfortable this way. The fact that my physicality and way of interacting with the world is in alignment with the expectations of the gender I was born means that I operate in a position of privilege. And as soon as we are able to recognize the unique positions of privilege we each have, it creates an opportunity to look outward and exercise our minds and hearts to be more empathetic.
Essentially I’m an urban bear or lumbersexual if you want to toss some loose labels on me though I prefer not to be packaged because I always find it becomes limiting and never fully represents who I am, my interests and most importantly who I may evolve to be and haven’t even imagined yet.
And that potential for evolution within a person is what I’d like for you to consider today.
In what ways have you changed in your existence thus far?
Have you had to come out to friends or family in one or more aspects of your life?
Is there another revelation you’d like to explore and share with the world?
How does your most authentic and best self look, behave and interact with the world?
Have you had a conversation with someone considering or who has had gender confirmation surgery?
With some of those thoughts in mind, I invite you to watch the latest video in our men’s health series, Balls. This episode features Danica, a woman of incredible strength, love and resilience. With Danica as our guide we take a very personal journey to discover gender confirmation.
If you’d like to start at the beginning of our exploration of men’s health, please check out these other articles and videos.