I am feeling a little humbled.
I was asked last week at my college to talk about transgender issues, to my college group of counsellors in training. I started by reading a section of my book ‘in the mirror;’ where I asked my fellow students to think what it would feel like for them to wake up in the body of a gender they didn’t identify with.
I encouraged a very interesting discussion of what they thought of the pathway for transgender people. I think we have a lot to learn from teaching others about trans issues, it’s amazing how many questions they asked that I didn’t know the answer to. My tutor, in jest, introduced me as an expert speaker for the session. I started by contradicting him that I am far from an expert.
I included the clip from the person who recently came out to Barack Obama as non binary and not identifying as one gender. It made me realise how far the transgender cause has come since I first published my book and was doing book events – its been a long time.
I also found it humbling how interested and insightful people could be who are new to the subject. Some in the group were happily open about being ignorant of the issues. Yet they showed such compassion. I guess this is not a surprise given that they are all at the end of 4 years study to become counsellors; they are an amazingly empathetic bunch. But perhaps it gives us hope that counsellors of the future seeing transgender clients can be more open to thinking outside the binary box. That not all transgender people are on a one way path. Some are trying to carve a place in the world where they can just be themselves, and how that can be living to varying degrees within and across all genders.