For a long long time I have tried hard to understand my gender variance and like to describe myself on a linear scale of gender, sometimes, transgender and sometimes intergender, now and then gender ambiguous or androgynous. All the while think I hate labels but think must/have to fit in a pigeon hole somewhere.
My own gender congruence has been deeply engrained in me, deep down, sometimes like and echo, something that isn’t easily understood or heard but there for a long time all the same. All that said actually really understanding it and getting to grips with the fact that I am just another sort of human person rather than a label has been tough, all the while trying to live, stay alive, work, fit in, hold down a relationship, etc etc. Suffice to say it’s been harder than a hard thing from hardsville. BUT I’ve always known that there is a linear scale of gender congruence and I must fit somewhere and that’s that.
Anyway rarely do you hear someone singing from a similar hymn sheet, a similar voice amidst the see of labels. Then whilst searching Google for “hope for transgender uk” I stumble upon Alex Drummond – MSc (Dist) BA MBACP (Snr.Accred) SMT (Accred).
Alex is an author of a book called Grrl Alex: A Personal Journey to a Transgender Identity, a Cognitive Behavioural Counsellor & Psychotherapist and a photographer ! When I looked at the cover of the book I instantly wondered if this is another similar voice, a little different to the many similar binary weighted ones in the Transgender community, it turns out Alex with the many fancy letters and far more educated than me is talking the about similar stuff. No I haven’t read the book yet (as I have only just spotted this) but fully intend to get it and read it, but I have watched one of Alex’s lectures and read the blog post Understanding Transgender: Familiarity breeds acceptance.
What Alex is actually lecturing about and working with is the very same concept that I have been feeling for such a long time, that gender is a personal thing on a linear none binary scale.
Alex talks about issues that trans people face with trying to fit in and attempting to gain a sense of acceptance in society, about the desire to feel connected. A lack of connectivity can lead to the feelings of Depression, Anxiety, Social Phobia, Relationship Difficulties, Low Self Esteem, Internalised Shame, Self Harm, Suicidal Thoughts and Issues around Loss. Later Alex talks about his own personal experiences and even shows a video clip, showing how little people notice a trans person in Cardiff, which kind of relates to my post a while ago but expressed in a much more eloquent way.
Alex presents lectures in a ‘no shit’ straight talking yet light way, having looked at both the lecture, the book cover, the photography site, and the counselling site, Alex seems to ooze a natural confidence that just shows if you really accept yourself, you may just become naturally more acceptable to the rest of society.
I have to say finding all of Alex’s work has been a breath of fresh air and certainly must help anyone with Gender Congruence issues understand that it’s a matter of accepting yourself first and getting on with life the best way you can, as much as anything. I KNOW from my own experience that’s much easier said than done. Alex is proof you can come through and at very least there are many more than just binary forms of gender out there, I always guessed there was but was too afraid to stand up and be counted for such a long time.
All quite inspiring to me and I’m sure many others.
If you fancy watching the lecture here it is.