How bound are we to our biological roles in life? Must women love and want babies? Must men be warriors? Can we turn away from these predestined roles and forge a new path? If you ask a traditionalist, they would tell you it is impossible. To their understanding, we are tied tightly to our sexual and social roles, and those who wish to transcend them are at best messed up, and at worst, insane. Either extreme means that any people who seek to grow beyond biology and socialization are doomed to be outcasts.
Traditional society recognizes and accepts only two genders: Straight female, and straight male. People who are homosexual, transsexual, bisexual or asexual do not get a look in. I saw a series of symbols that very graphically showed the transition from one gender to the other. On each end were the solitary female and male symbols, and in the center was the combination male-female symbol. Between the pure and trans gender symbols were double male and female symbols signifying the homosexual genders. I would wish to add a sixth gender symbol- a circle with neither the male or female indicators on it for the asexual gender, although the trans could probably serve as well.
I guess my Creator was in a Coyote mood when my DNA was chosen for this incarnation: I ended up with the most girly-girl body one could find. Maybe it is a clever disguise, but as a celibate non-breeder, it is the punchline of the most absurd cosmic joke ever. I suppose it has served its purpose- I have used the classic dumb blonde tactic to learn lots of things. And I have used it as a weapon- utilizing the smart blonde tactic to send traditionalist suitors running away from me.
Early on, I encountered the cultural programming that sends most people down the roads to their biological destinies. Girls, I was told, do not climb trees, run around without shirts, play with trucks, Erector sets, in the dirt, or with interesting things like chemistry sets and crystal radios. I remember asking for Matchbox cars and telescopes, and getting "Little Kiddles", baby dolls, Barbies, and tea sets. I begged for a crystal radio kit like the one my cousin had. I got a transistor radio instead. The message was that building stuff was for boys, and using stuff was for girls. When I became exuberant in my physical expression, I was told to 'act like a lady. I learned early on that the kitchen was for the women, and the patio or the living room was for the men. This struck me as odd as I made my way through the world as an adult- I met men who had no clue what a kitchen was for, and surprised those who thought I wouldnt know when they were bullshitting me about what was wrong with my car. I think that men and women should know how both kitchens and cars work, and be competent in their operation. I saw a shirt once that was interesting- it had a picture of a woman on it and the phrase, "Do not assume I know how to cook." The male equivalent read, "Do not assume I know how to fix cars." I feel that way when people who dont know me well assume that I would love to baby sit their kids, and I use "I know much more about computers than childcare" as the knock-em-dead reply.
Spiritually, this role programming was reinforced. Knowing Jesus was what Good Christians were to aspire towards, but only men could properly serve him. Women were to serve the men who served Jesus and God. No woman was worthy to serve God on her own merit- she had to go through two, and sometimes even three middlemen if she was a married Christian. I was taught by my childhood church that my ultimate destiny was to be a dutiful and obedient wife and a mother, or barring that, a bride of Christ. There were no other valid, independent paths. To not want to be a mother was heresy. And to wish to be a female priest was beyond heresy, it was impossible. I finally left the church after a Sunday School teacher told me that women were Biblically unclean and would never be clean in the eyes of God because of Eves transgression. So, no matter how much good I did, it would not count in their eyes because I was a woman. That made no sense to me, so I left, and have never looked back. In my time away, I have seen this unfortunate nastiness reinforced by the writings of saints and other prominent people of the Christian faith, and this imbalance has saddened me greatly. How much have they lost by corralling women into breeding and servitude?
Socially, things were a little looser, but not much. I was allowed to sit out the usual teen rituals of dating, proms, and dances, but at the cost of being outcast socially. I was shunned for not being boy crazy, and picked on by both the boys and the girls. I stoically endured the bullying. Even my first career choice went against the gender grain. I joined the US Air Force, and became an electronics tech. This was a guys field, and although macho wasnt required, I was still made to feel like a stranger there. Most of the men were married to traditional women, who saw my presence in their husbands lives as a threat. It did not matter that I was a professional. The unmarried men saw me as a sex object, and I spent a lot of time fending off their unwanted sexual advances.
I left that career behind, and drifted through several other more traditional female-oriented (low paying "pin money") jobs until I found my present one. At long last, the combination of non-traditional career choices and being female has come together in my favor. But I have learned that the idea and social and religious enforcement of gender roles has unnecessarily limited the inner growth of both sexes.
This really saddens me, because men and women have unique gifts that serve the opposite side in an enriching way. There are many studies that show that kids without grown males in their households grow up with holes in their development that will trip them up. And that women who are forced to breed through accident or circumstance are more prone to be depressed and indifferent or abusive to their offspring. Religious people try to cure homosexuals, and society ignores or degrades those who eschew sexual interaction altogether. Celibacy outside a religious context is a subject that is rarely discussed or encouraged.
Life is even harder for those born with transgender bodies. Often, they are surgically assigned a sex, and raised with the cultural programming of that sex. In some ancient cultures, the transgendered were considered sacred and highly prized, and were given a role in the culture as a mediator between the pure sexes. The same held for homosexuals- in India and Greece, there were periods of time when homosexuality was openly practiced without persecution and they served sacred roles in their religious rites. I often think that the Biblical forbidding of homosexual activity was because it kept the ancient Hebrew population down rather than it being an awful practice. Any step taken to prevent conception and the growth of the numbers of the Hebrew nation was considered an abomination, and most social roles were closed to those who had no progeny. One could not be a rabbi, priest, or judge without having a family, there were no celibate or solitary men or women in their culture. It was OK to kill the enemys kids, but the men had to make wives and mothers out of the conquered virgin women who were left after the genocidal sweeps of the Old Testament. This frenzy of reproduction has bled over into our own times, with the ancient texts being quoted outside of context to enforce the roles of each sex. The backwards trend into more and more defined gender roles grows with the infiltration of fundamentalist values, and is slowly dragging our culture back into the dark ages.
In order to progress spiritually, we must transcend these gender boundaries. We must think beyond reproduction and reproductive sex, and consider the future we are sentencing our present progeny to live in. With the combination of uncontrolled population growth and the deliberate turning towards sharply defined gender roles, we are dooming our current children and our grandchildren to a crowded, repressive hell on earth.
In order for people to grow spiritually, they have to balance the biological imperatives of their sex with the enrichment that understanding each gender role would entail. Reducing the quantity of people born will, in the long run, increase the quality of their lives. This is true spiritually as well as socially and culturally. We should learn to understand and work with the sexual impulse within ourselves, and understand that all roles are valid, and have value- including that of celibacy.
God is genderless, and in order to get to know God better in our travels, we must also aspire to eliminate the gender bias in our daily acts. This is difficult to do- many things we do are blindly gender biased- like trusting women more easily than trusting men, or talking to strangers of the opposite sex without the sexual element interfering. And we must become acquainted with the elements of the opposite gender that dwell within us, and accept them for their value to us. When this is done, and integrated into unconscious action, you will have taken another major turn around the Spiral Path.
ã 2001 by Sunfell