Behind the Gender Labels

caitlyn-jennerbruce-jenner-athlete

 

Can you believe Bruce Jenner was a woman all along? The world class athlete? The Olympic star  who won the decathlon? Can you believe that inside that  Greek god (above, left) was a goddess (above, right) trying to escape?

It boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

And aren’t you blown away by the woman he turned out to be? That beautiful creature on the cover of Vanity Fair doesn’t look like any other 65-year-old I can recall – man or woman.

Gender is a weird business, anyway.  I remember a captivating young lady turning up at a golf club dance in Jamaica, and hearing that she used to be a boy I knew in boarding school. And much later in life, I heard a story about a burly managing editor of a Florida newspaper who had a sex change operation so he/she could engage in lesbian sex.

Go figure.

Sex and gender are more complicated than we humans would like them to be.  Life would be a lot simpler if we could slap labels on everyone and file them away neatly – one cabinet for male and another for female. If only Mother Nature would cooperate.

People are a frustrating muddle. We refuse to be labeled – and stay labeled. One day we’re swaggering about like Sylvester Stalone, the next we’re purring like someone’s sex kitten. And in some cases, that someone might not necessarily be of the opposite sex.

Don’t get me wrong. I would be horrified if you thought this could apply to me!

No sir. I am all man. See the hair on my chest? See my skinny, hairy legs? My knobby knees? Nothing feminine there! There’s no Caitlin inside me  trying to escape.

My mother did a great job of conditioning me – as your mother probably did with you. It’s what mothers do.

It’s what society wants. Order. Clarity.

Then along comes Caitlin Jenner to challenge our notions of sex and gender.

Click for more on the Jenner story.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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