Before I was born, or rather, before I came into the world as a fully developed human baby, during that time when I was still a fetus in my mom’s womb, my parents had an idea and a wish for what I would be.
This wish wasn’t some grand design nor was it a hope that I’d become famous. They fortunately never put pressures on me like that. This wish was what I would be, what I would come into the world as; a boy or a girl. I’ll be honest, my parents were hedging their bets on a girl. They even had the name picked out already.
Now, you might say that there’s ways parents can readily identify what gender the fetus is before it’s born, but there are those parents who don’t want to know. They will allow for the miracle of birth to bring about the news that their child is either a boy or a girl. For me, mom and dad really wanted a girl.
And that’s cool, I didn’t come out the gender they had hoped for, but they loved me and raised me unconditionally anyway. I was a little shit at times, and that’s fine because kids can sometimes be little shits.
I have no idea what my life would have been like had I been a girl. None at all. The only thing I do know is my name, or at least the name I would have had. That would have been Karen Anne. Knowing the name is far from knowing what a person’s life would have been like, especially your own, had you been born as something else. I have an idea what I would have looked like as the genetics of both sides of my family were pretty defined. There’s lots of girls on both sides of my family who are prime examples of what I could have looked like.
But let’s move back the clock for a moment, shall we. I have a pretty good idea what I would have encountered had I been a girl. Not first hand experience, but the different experiences of women who grew up during the 1970s in the Canadian midwest. And while it’s better than some places in the world, I still would have had a rough time of it. If my career path went the same way, I would have had to work doubly as hard and faced a great number of hurdles in order to succeed. In many cases, my career path of radio announcer would have been tough. There’s not a lot of women who are on air announcers, so I’d have had to make strides to stand out. I’d have done well in the news room, as women were more likely to get jobs in that area of broadcasting. But as an on air announcer, probably not.
Let’s move the clock back again, shall we. Because this next one is sort of horrifying. Had I been born as I was, and had I come to a decision that I wanted to be a girl, its more than likely that I would have faced an even bigger problem. The 1970s weren’t exactly the best for trans women. And Saskatchewan, even less than. It’s still considered odd or freakish in this province when a gay person or a lesbian couple lives in a small town (there are exceptions to this rule, however). And what I’m describing is the 1970s.
But now we are in the year 2015, a time when we believe we are more accepting, more open minded, and more giving in to unconditional love. Yet we aren’t. All one has to do is look at the number of trans women who have been killed or committed suicide. The difficulty faced just because those people don’t feel comfortable with the gender assigned to them at birth. The sudden disgust and hatred that is thrown upon those people even from family members because they live in a narrow minded world.
Sure, people are open minded. As long as it happens to someone else.
The 1970s were a time when a great number of taboo things weren’t discussed. It was a time when a good number of movements were taking place as well. And we were on the cusp of something incredible with regard to social change. It’s now 2015, and sadly, we’re still waiting for that cusp to arrive.