The New York Times has a pretty interesting read: “When a Student Says, ‘I’m Not a Boy or a Girl.’” It’s about young students in schools leading the way on gender identity issues. It’s not very long – you should definitely read it.
It made me think of the “racist old people” cliche – old folks who couldn’t keep up when society’s ideas about race changed. I used to wait on folks like this in the restaurants where I worked all the time. They’d be outraged if you called them racists, but at the same time, their ideas about race and the cultures of various people of color were so bass-ackwards that it was almost more funny than appalling. Like, “Holy crap, did you just get here from 1920?” or something like that.
That’s going to be my generation with gender identity. That’s what we’re going to sound like to people in twenty years. In forty years, some server at a restaurant is going to gently correct us on their preferred pronouns, and we’re going to say something so awful there’s no choice but to laugh, like, “When I was your age we all knew if we were girls or boys.”
I’d personally like to not be that “racist old fart.” (What are we gonna call that? “Genderist”? Is there a name for that already? I feel like “transphobic” doesn’t cover the spectrum.) That’s why I read up on these issues all the time and try to practice not being an asshole to people. I don’t know if that’s going to help in the long run. I have a feeling that sometimes you hit a point where things are just changing too fast for tired old brains, and some people give up at that point.
Reminder to self: Try not to be one of those people who give up. 🙂