Updated: May 7, 2018
Much of my world consists of 'quiet conversations' these days.
Once upon awhile ago, I wrote for community newspapers where I had the responsibility of sharing peoples stories. It was easier to be loud then.
I held the role of ensuring their story was told, unbiased, with researched and fact-checked information; that ultimately by the time the piece of writing was sent for publishing, it was something I was proud I'd written.
I followed the rules, ensuring at least three voices were quoted for a well-rounded point-of-view. At the same time, I remembered as a community piece, the voices were trusting me as a Journalist to tell their truth, without sensationalism. I wasn't writing headline news -- but rather the stories of everyday people and their own headlines -- people that matter.
Society is screaming these days. It's really not-so-easy to tune out the noise.
Often the folks who are wanting to offer thoughtful online expression are drowned out by the haters, the angry folk, people with agendas.
When it comes to talking about Gender and youthful expression of gender, it seems the divisive voices are the loudest. The ones who falsely report or publish editorialized opinion in their online vitriol-fuelled fighting matches.
It makes those of us experiencing the real stories terrified to share our experience; fearful to educate through their own truth. Not so easy to put your head on the chopping block.
But we need to talk to about gender identity and transgender youth. For kids like mine, acceptance and visibility is life.
In the great Welsh words of poet, Dylan Thomas:
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And so, I listen for quiet, meaningful conversations with the hope of finding a way to inspire change without conflict.
This is why, I believe the Add-A-Box Challenge is important.
No words need be exchanged. Nothing to be defended. I'm simply asking people to accept there are people who are being left out. And 4 little lines, as simple as they are, can make a difference.
Just perhaps, if you're someone who has never had to think about gender beyond M or F; when you see a Form that offers you more than two boxes to choose from, it may inspire you think about it. Whether it's positive, or if it makes you angry or annoyed or it simply turns on a lightbulb.
Whether you know it or not.
You'll think of the place you are at; you'll recognize this place has accepted there is more to people than M and F. And slowly, it may just become apart of your subconscious and one day,
apart of your conscious. And it won't be something scary or something to fear. Or something that someone is trying to sell you. It'll possibly become a recognized reality that equals a whole lot of inclusion for a population of people who exist - but aren't being seen.