Sweet Dreams and Driving Machines
Lawrence Fischman, a word. Please.

I loved you yesterday

GenderFluid

"I loved you yesterday
And I love you just the same
And none of the things you do
Could tear us apart
I loved you yesterday
And I love you just the same
When I gave myself to you
You took only my heart"
  -
Lyle Lovett

The world, life, and what we think we see or hear is driven by interpretation; maybe music more powerfully than most. I've been listening to Lyle Lovett since 1993. The man might as well be defined by his love songs. I believe he is always singing to someone. 

We drove across the State of Pennsylvania, from Oxford, CT all the way to Gahana, OH; 358 of 622 miles from the Jersey border all the way to Wheeling, WV. My kids were used to falling asleep and waking up three states later. Pennsylvania reached its long arms to the West and we rotated through the cassette collection until we got to Lyle Lovett. We listened to both sides of Pontiac on repeat for at least 200 of those miles.

Pontiac was released in 1987, one year after the birth of my first child. My first born sang with FEELING, If I Had a Boat... and I sang, with FEELING, If I Had a Boat, and every other track on that album. I Loved You Yesterday is the third track and I heard only my son in every word, only my child in the silence between the notes.

The baby was not singing. The baby slept through all of it. Bless her heart.

It's a tear jerker, this memory; twenty-seven years between the voice from the backseat and me, pounding this keyboard. In those twenty-seven years, if I could, I would do so many things differently. There are things I did, with the best of parental intention, that boxed that boy so tight I do believe he stopped breathing for a few years. Possibly an entire decade.

A lot of what I said and did was reflex. 

A lot of what we say and do is reflex and with our eyes closed, we march on and we miss the boat more often than not. What if you knew there was a pony on that boat? Would you slow your steps and look out to sea? Would you venture into the unknown in the name of love? For most of us, the answer is, no. Even when we slow ourselves, we still process the same information from the same railroad track. This is the Human Tragedy. If we're lucky, a good retrospective serves as the Comedy from which we can choose something outside our boxes.

Here's the tricky part; most of those boxes (we think) look just like us. The moment we lift the lid and step outside, we are forfeit. We won't choose forfeit for love or money.

We won't choose forfeit for love. We are forfeit for the loss of love; we fade to shadows of what we once were, and what we might have been. Shadow people, shadow partners, shadow friends, shadow employees, and shadow parents.

Daughter's Day, September 25, jumped up and bit me on the nose. I couldn't bring myself to add to the already lovely collection of photographs on social media. I wrote what turned out to be an epically bad poem instead (I meant prose, really, I did).

"Daughters.
I spawned and raised two.
They aren’t mine to have; they belong only to themselves.
But daughters.
I count two.
I count two daughters
in my heart."

Yep, that's pretty bad but the sentiment sticks. I could have written it differently:

"Children.
I spawned and raised three.
They aren’t mine to have; they belong only to themselves.
But children.
I count three.
I count three children
in my heart."

That would, at least, have been inclusive because on the 28th I flat out ignored Son's Day. It felt awkward in a way I cannot account for. It just felt awkward.

At the end of Son's Day, TL posted a question that slapped me upside the head. She asked: "...when is National Gender Fluid child day?" The question was at the tail end of the acknowledgement of her sons on Son's day. 

There are many words that indicate non-binary; there is only one to identify cisgender. Cisgender simply means that we identify with our gender of birth. We might read that as an excluding term made up by the LGBT organization to shut out anyone other than a person in another box. It is, in fact, an inclusive definition. It provides an anchor from which all non-cisgender humans can launch. And by the way, cisgender does not mean straight. It means, to identify with the gender of birth. I might be born a woman and be only attracted to women. Being attracted to women as a woman does not indicate non-binary identification.

We got our arms around the L, B, G part of LGBT and we have a vague-ish clue about the T (I say, vague, because it isn't even remotely binary). That acronym has grown exponentially in the last two decades. 

I have a list of 58 gender options identified by ABC News in 2014. I notice its missing a few. Between 2014 and 2020 enough humans stood up and spoke out and said:

None of the above, I am this, or, I don't know, or I think maybe a little of this and a little more of that and this one more thing I don't see on the list. And so the list grows, is edited, refined, and most importantly:

Embraced and respected. 

So how is it even remotely possible that we do not recognize a National Gender Fluid Child's Day? Even Gender Fluid is a bit too narrow. Non-binary might be a little closer. Trans, is not going to cut it; but, at this point I'm quibbling. 

I don't feel good about this. 20 Signs Mom's Kid Might Be Gender Fluid. It made me cringe. It reminds me of some parents of my generation who needed something on which to focus that was different from the ordinary. Many, if not all of these signs could just as easily indicate our growth as a culture. For example, if you take the population of young women in math, engineering, and science professions and apply a fair number of these points, we'd be yanking the 'woman' box right out from under our collective feet. We have no right AND it invalidates most, if not all of the Women's Movement. So just don't, OK? On the other hand, the fact that there is a list should tell us something. We are beginning to pay attention and we are letting go of some of our most deadly cultural beliefs.

Given the way I raised my first two children (there's a nine year gap between numbers two and three), with significant access to both boy and girl things, and a concerted effort to remove as many boundaries as possible, early and often, you'd think... well, you'd think something.

However, when my daughter was nine months old, still growing in a full head of hair, and wearing mostly her brother's baby clothes, when a person noted my adorable son I freaked out and had her ears pierced.

WTF, Heather? 

I marched into Baby Gap and bought a handful of dresses and a hat and that was the end of that. Sort of.

Two summers later, when she had the motor skills to follow him, she went right up a forty foot pine tree after her brother. In her little white dress. I went straight up that tree as fast as I could, scooped her up and monkeyed my way back down. Her little white dress was covered in sap and I gave up. She wore what she wore but her ears were still pierced. 

This all occurred in the 90's, the second decade of death and the height of our ethical and moral breakdown as parents. The number of men who wasted away and died alone in those hospital beds is legion. Between 1990 and 2000, more than 250,000 people died of AIDs in the US. Those are CDC numbers which we've come to understand have never been entirely accurate. It's a reporting problem more than anything. How many COVID deaths are unreported today? Don't answer that. At some level we all know.

When our child is dying from COVID related horrors, we beat our chests and fall to the ground because we cannot get to them. That they will die alone, without us, is more than we can bear.

When our children were dying in the 90s, we forgot we had them. 

Twenty years later we have more than fifty-eight identified genders. Gender identity does not happen like a magical on/off switch; it begins sometime after conception. I really do need to broad stroke that because I really don't know.

What I see most often is the questioning of our gender identities. All are relevant, even if we haven't named it yet. TL suggested Gender Fluid and I was more attached to Non-binary but it doesn't matter just now.

There is really only one question. Are the Gender Fluid and Non-binary children in a state of 'less than'? Can we continue to push them aside when we celebrate our cisgender children? We could, but I'm not willing to do that.

As of today, all three of my children have self-identified as cisgender people. That isn't a relief, it's a current fact based on their self-identification. Any or all could speak up this afternoon and correct me. 

I name today, September 29, 2020 International Gender Fluid Child Day.

And it is so, because I said so. 

Happy International Gender Fluid Child day. I claim the children in the photograph above, if only for today. If you look carefully, you might notice it's a little difficult to pick our which is what. That's the point. What you see, what they present, is what they are or are not. Don't overthink this. 

Here is a list of Important LBGT Dates. Not a single one recognizes a children's day. Not yet. Given them time. Please also note the first date on this list. It should set the context very well. 

Important LBGT Dates.

You can look up the lyrics for 'I Loved You Yesterday', or you can listen without gender assumption. If you hear a pronoun, let it go. 

"I loved you yesterday
And I love you just the same
And none of the things you do
Could tear us apart
I loved you yesterday
And I love you just the same
When I gave myself to you
You took only my heart"
  -
Lyle Lovett

 

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