Episode 10 Transcript: Gender Identity

EPISODE 10: Gender Identity

Originally Aired:  April 18, 2017

MY NAME IS ANDY HORNING, AND THIS IS ELEPHANT TALK. IT’S ABOUT ALL THINGS RELATIONSHIP – THE SOULFUL, THE SILLY AND THE SEXY.

JO AND JACOB HAVE WHAT MANY CONSIDER A TYPICAL RELATIONSHIP – THEY MET, DATED, MARRIED, AND NOW HAVE A NEWBORN BABY. BUT UNDERNEATH IT ALL ARE LAYERS OF INSECURITY, APPREHENSION AND DISTRESS.

Jacob For you there’s a lot to gain in being out all the time and for me I perceive a loss a lot of the time in how people perceive me and how they treat me and, so it doesn’t always feel worthwhile or safe for me.

Jo       I don’t want to minimize the impact on you when I share who I am so I think that’s a tension that I think will be throughout our lives.

THEIR STORY TOUCHES ON THE EVOLVING VOCABULARY, TERMS AND DEFINITIONS REGARDING GENDER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION. THERE IS NO RIGHT TERM OR DEFINITION TO DESCRIBE SOMEONE. EACH PERSON HAS THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE AND PREFERENCE IN HOW THE PERSON WANTS TO BE IDENTIFIED AND WHAT THAT PERSON’S EXPERIENCE OF THAT TERM IS LIKE.

Carole People are under the incorrect assumption that if somebody doesn’t identify as like male or female that there’s some problem and they’re looking to get surgery and hormones and all of that. It’s not necessarily the route someone is going to take at all. But let’s say that that if somebody is having distress with their not feeling aligned with the gender that they were assigned at birth, that’s what I mean by dysphoria.

IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SHOW I TALK WITH CAROLE CLEMENTS, A PROFESSOR AND PRACTITIONER OF CONTEMPLATIVE PSYCHOLOGY. WE DISCUSS THE ORIGIN AND USEFULNESS OF TERMS SUCH AS CISGENDER, HETERONORMATIVE, GENDER BINARY AND GENDER DYSPHORIA.

Jacob    So we went for a hike and I surprised you, I think, which surprised me [Laughter] because I remember you said ‘wait! Is this for real?’ after I asked if you would marry me and…

Jacob     I said ‘it’s not a ring pop. We did that, we went out, celebrated after we got engaged and then I think a day or two later you said ‘ok, I think it’s – it’s time for us or you to let my parents know that your trans. We wrote them a letter, and another day or two later we got a respond from each of your parents, one for your mom that said ‘Well, your – your transgender does come as a shock but gender is not important.’ We still laugh about that because just the way that she used ‘transgender.’ We’ll say ‘where is my transgender? I can’t find it!’ [Laughter].

Jacob     And then your dad, he said ‘never a dull moment, love you both’ which was actually a huge relief to me just because your dad is a six foot four, ex-lawyer, conservative from Texas [Laughter] and wasn’t sure how he was going to handle having a future son-in-law who’s – who’s transgender

Joe         Yeah, so, my parents loved you and early on my mom made the statement of finally give you the baby you’ve always wanted’ which he – that you did!

Jacob     I did! [Laughter] just in a different way that they had imagined.

Jo           Yeah, I had been out myself for, like six years. I came out when I was thirty and I think that they were all excited that I was with a man again.

Jo           So that was part of why I really wanted to tell them and you wrote a beautiful letter to them.

Jo           I think you just really pointed out how, you being transgender is a part of you and doesn’t really change anything about who you are as a – as a person. It’s an important part of who you are but it’s not your entirety, it doesn’t define you.

Jacob     Part of my reason for sharing that information with them was – was so that they could know me better so I wouldn’t have to edit my stories, so I could be more open to them as we get to know each other over the years, and I did highlight that I really love their daughter and, uhm, that I thought that was the most important thing that we were going to create life together.

Jacob     And then when we were getting married, there’s a ton of people specially on my side of the family and who still today don’t know that you’re trans.

Jo           But that first dinner that we had where we introduced your parents to my dad, I was just terrified that he was going to screw up because I hadn’t talked to your parents yet

Jo           I think that’s another piece around how we talk about our relationship and our identities early on, it was, I think, a bigger source of tension but one that we’ve worked through and keep working through.

Jo           When you and I were first dating I had just decided to become a mental health therapist after being an academic. And in my profession life I had been very out, it was part of my professional identity, I felt like I needed to be visible to students. So I kind of went into our relationship making some assumptions that weren’t true. I remember early telling friends that you were trans and that was a violation of you telling your own story

Jo           The point of this is how we each have our own story and have a shared story, and over time, figuring out how to navigate that a little bit better.

Jacob     When you met me I was still fairly early into my transition, fairly new to being read as male all of the time. It was really overwhelming because I got a lot of those really invasive questions and by the time we met I was ready to just sort of be in hiding. I was ready to just live my life as a man and not as a trans man first. So I think when you had shared that information with – with your friend, she had asked me a few questions about it after that and I was kind of like ‘Woah’.

Jacob     I would like to be able to decide who and how that information is shared. For me I also need to acknowledge that my story is now part of your story as well. We’ve had to learn how to share that information with people. Because you are more open than I am and that’s – you know, I’ve chosen to live my life with you and a part of accepting you and honoring you is knowing that you appreciate openness in your relationships.

Jo           I love it when you tell me more of your own story, I don’t think it’s that often that you do so…

Jacob     For me it’s not that I feel that I’m withholding, it’s certainly not my intention, I just expect that people aren’t interested in my stories. I’ve worked to not take up space but I hear that you would like for me to take up more space sometimes.

Jacob     For you there’s – there’s a lot to gain in being out all the time and for me I perceive a loss a lot of the time in how people perceive me and how they treat me and, so it doesn’t always feel worthwhile or safe for me.

Jacob     I think people generally still perceive it as a very new thing when it’s definitely not. But it’s still not mainstream by any means

Jo           I think, another major that’s come up around having a kid together and people make the assumption that, you know, everyone is all the time talking about how our baby looks like you. And my tendency would be to be like ‘actually, we had to go through this whole thing with fertility and use a donor’ and that totally outs you. I had no idea what it was going to be like to have this baby grow in my body and come out of it, and have like the breastfeeding thing and how that impacts all sorts of things about who she’s with. I think that’s been difficult.

Jacob     Sharing with someone that I’m not my kid’s biological father is a vulnerable thing. You may gain connection through sharing that whereas for me it feels like a loss. People look at me differently or talk to me differently about it and think of me differently, and it doesn’t feel like a happy thing for me to be open about, generally.

Jo           Growing up not being able to be who I was, there’s some of that that feels like it happens because of, again, I don’t want to minimize the impact on you when I share who I am so I think that’s a tension that I think will be throughout our lives.

Jacob     I think that’s a strength of ours though, to be able to take a step back from our own story to listen to the other person’s and to try to see how we might be able to find some sort of compromise or way of being that is ok for both of us.

Jo           I really regret that, having this child that I think that I got super, super self-centered and I was very surprised at the urge that I had, it was no way rational to have a second kid because I had been like ‘one and done’ all the way and then we had her, the day after this traumatic C-section, like I’m ‘I see why people do this again’ and you were like ‘what?’ [Laughter].

Jacob     [Laughter] That threw me for a loop.

Jo           I was really insensitive. I was really in a self-centered moment and I regret that. And I would love to know more about your experience of being our baby’s father, and such a wonderful father, and having to deal with all the social pressures, assumptions around the biological father or whatever, right.

Jacob     First of course I want to say I love this sweet baby and I don’t wish for a moment that that were any different

When we started, you had said ‘I don’t ever want to do IVF, we’re just going to try it, if it doesn’t work so be it. So we were nearing that sixth try and then you started talking about IVF and you were noticing some resistance from me because I was like, it’s really expensive. I thought we were just going to do six tries and be done’ and, so for me that was a big deal, just- and I had said you get to have this thing potentially that I never get to have and if we adopt, we would be in the same page with this kid.’ And then you got pregnant. But then after we had the baby and you started saying ‘I desperately want this biological connection again, I want to have this baby inside of me, I want to be able to breastfeed and I don’t want to adopt,’ and I think that’s been painful for me. I don’t get to have that biological connection with any kid.

– BREAK –

Jacob     I didn’t know that trans people existed. I didn’t know it was an option until I went to college. But it didn’t feel like a choice per se. Choosing to take hormones, choosing to have surgery was definitely a choice but I certainly did not choose to feel that my gender did not match what was assigned to me. So I think I struggled with that for a long time. I do remember one day somebody showed me a photography book by Loren Cameron called Body Alchemy that shows pictures of female to male transgender people who – before and after their transition process and that to me was like this moment of ‘Oh! I think that’s who I am.’

But even after that realization I struggled for a long time, because my family struggled with it and I had to sort of weigh out, if I might lose my family over this, is this worth it? Is it worth it to create a life for myself where I might be ostracized by my family, by my community? But I finally just got to a point where I was like ‘this is all I can think about. And also just stop being fearful, I was very much living in this grey area where, I didn’t know, when I went to the grocery store, if I was going to be perceived as male or as female and that created a lot of anxiety for me. I had been kicked out of bathrooms and faced some harassment in various different places, and just got to a point where I was like I don’t think I can take this anymore. I need to choose a life where I’ll be able to feel some freedom and just exist and not have to fight all the time.

Jo           What I appreciate so much about the way you talk about your story is that I think there’s this dominant narrative in our society that someone maybe an assigned male declares ‘I’m a girl’ and that’s, like, what happens and that’s not the case for so many people.

Jacob     When I first told my family that I was going to start with hormones, my brother said ‘You know, I just don’t get it, you’re not depressed, you’re not suicidal, why would you do this?’ and I said ‘You’re right, I’m not those things and that’s good, and I just think that I’m going to be happier and more confident, and feel freer in life, and I need to choose that for myself right now’.

               – BREAK –

Jo           So often questions go to, ‘What’s under people’s clothes’ and ‘How are they having sex?’ and…

Jacob     How many surgeries have I had? It’s private, medical information that people are asking for and for some reason, people seem to think that it’s ok to ask that about a trans person.

Jo           Right, but that’s information that otherwise be really intrusive or invasive, like, most people I don’t think we’d be like ‘So! How do you have sex when…?’

Jacob     ‘What do your genitals look like?’

Jo           So one of my mom’s questions was if he had some sort of prostatic penis.

Jacob     In my pants, right.

Jo           Just making a point that as if people notice that, as if people go around looking at…

Jacob     She said ‘Well, sometimes you can see a man’s penis through his pants’ and I said ‘Yeah but if you don’t, do you assume that he has a vagina?’ [Laughter]

FOR MANY, WE ARE STILL – OR JUST – LEARNING WHAT IT MEANS TO IDENTIFY AS TRANSGENDER, AS QUEER, OR AS GENDER FLUID.

CAROLE CLEMENTS IS A PROFESSOR OF CONTEMPLATIVE PSYCHOLOGY AT NAROPA UNIVERSITY AND A PRACTICING CONTEMPLATIVE PSYCHOTHERAPIST. CAROLE’S RESEARCH AND WORK FOCUSES ON ISSUES OF RELATIONSHIPS, SEXUALITY AND GENDER.

Carole     I want to say gendering is happening all the time. I don’t think any of us used to be so conscious of it. People who are cisgendered, which means we identify with the sex we were assigned at birth, there was a privilege and has been a privilege to that.

AH          So just to slow down a bit, I mean the idea that I’m privileged because I identify with the sex I was born, the gender I was born into.

Carole     Right. So that you know if a person is pregnant what we tend to ask them, “Oh, boy or girl?” Often we’re curious. What are you having? And so right there we’re actually gendering. That’s the process of gendering. So in relationship science, the terms are instrumental and expressive so that there are instrumental traits which are the kind of doing traits, the getting things done that have historically been associated with what it means to be male, right? Where the emotion, the receptivity which again are expressive traits have been historically associated with what it means to be female and those have been kind of the two roots that we get which have actually hurt everybody, I would say.

AH          Yes.

Carole     Because gender is a construction. So it will be referred to as it’s a social construction. We could say, “Okay, there’s a penis, what we call a penis, what we call vagina or vulva.” I mean that’s what we’re seeing, but that’s all, right? And what’s interesting, is that it’s homologous tissue actually.

AH          So when you say homologous you mean?

Carole     It comes from the same. They’re the same tissue. So the origin is the same. It’s all the same until about six weeks developmentally.

Carole     That’s right. That’s right. So there are structures in what we would typically call a male body and structures in what we would typically call a female body and the tissues are homologous and the genitalia, it’s homologous. It’s coming from the same place.

AH          I mean what’s been your experience around people responding to this whole movement around gender?

Carole     I can actually remember the first class I was teaching in erotic intelligence where I really brought this into the curriculum, right? It was like front and center and I remember one of my students who now is in such a different place with it all, but at that time, so identifies as male and was very angry actually and said, “So if I want to be elephant, do I get to say, ‘I’m an elephant’?”

AH          And how did you respond to that?

Carole     I said, “Do you feel like an elephant? Is that actually your experience?” And he said, “Well,” and I said, “You actually need to think about that because someone who is struggling who does not identify with the gender they were assigned with, they experience what would be called gender dysphoria potentially, like a quality of distress actually.” So they really don’t feel that way. They feel how they feel. And so I said, “If you feel like an elephant, I will support you being an elephant,”

Carole     When we have privilege, we actually can feel it being taken away and that’s a very frightening thing.” And he was able to acknowledge kind of his cisgender male privilege, right? It was being threatened a bit, like as a man, who’s also identified as heterosexual, attracted to women. He didn’t exactly want his experience of being a man or being attracted to a woman to go away and it doesn’t need to of course.

AH          But it was somehow threatening?

Carole     It was threatening in that moment.

AH          How would you identify privilege?

Carole     So there’s a quality of a lack of awareness that I’m able to do things maybe more easily, it’s assumed that I get to walk down a street without being looked at derogatorily or being called a name where there are other people who actually may not have that privilege. When I think about privilege and what gets so difficult about the topic is that people can actually feel very bad about having privilege and it’s not bad. It just is.

AH          I want to go to cismale, cisfemale, cismale.

Carole     Right. So it’s cisgender.

AH          Cisgender.

Carole     Right. Because our society assigns male or female at birth, you would identify as a cismale or a cisfemale.

AH          Where did that term come from?

Carole     So cis means on the side of. So meaning, I’m on the side of or I relate to the gender I was assigned to at birth, like it feels like a compatibility in that way.

AH          Okay. Okay. So then what’s the non-cis?

Carole     Right. So there are a few different ones. So queer could be a term, right?

AH          And what would that refer to?

Carole     Queer would mean, “I don’t actually choose that binary,” for example. “I’m beyond some binary form,” right? “I don’t relate to gender in a binary way,” for example. And the other term would be transgender which may be somebody who experiences not the gender they were assigned as but potentially kind of the “other gender”

Carole     The interesting thing about terms and definitions in this arena is that there isn’t a right way. So you really need to kind of find out from the person what term, like how they identify and what their experience of it is.

AH          I know this has become now part of an introduction. Here are my pronouns, right?

Carole     Yeah.

AH          This is an evolving world.

Carole     Yes, always. It’s very fluid, so I think they’re being created all the time. Some people actually prefer not pronouns, like my pronoun is my name for example. Some people say, “Well, Carole would be my pronoun.” Others would say maybe they, them, theirs, XEXYR, X-E-X-Y-R, for example.

Carole     We’re learning. So there was a researcher, Lisa Diamond, who did an interesting study. It was actually with people who identified as female, as woman. She was curious about how fluid their sexuality was or if it stayed the same way throughout a lifetime and what she found out was that sexuality similar to what Kinsey said years ago that there was a continuum, The Heterosexual-Homosexual Continuum, right? We’re not like one way or the other.

AH          One or the other.

Carole     And Lisa Diamond’s more recent research talks about sexuality being quite fluid that it changes. It can actually change.

AH          Over time.

Carole     Over time, yeah.

AH          Part of what as I’ve learned is that people often confuse gender with a sexual preference.

Carole     Yes, correct. So one kind of maybe simple way to think about it is who I want to go to bed as or who I go to bed as and who I want to go to bed with.

AH          Oh, that’s good.

Carole     Right? Real simple and that gender is the first. Who I am, right? Who I go to bed as and then who I want to be with that’s a whole different like maybe what I want to do and who I want to do it with is more in the sexual orientation.

AH          I mean it’s almost sexual orientation versus sexuality.

Carole     Those are, again, two different things.

AH          Is this the new norm that the vocabulary is so evolving?

Carole     Right. I mean, I think my hope would be and maybe in my own experience is that the more we talk about it, the more we become kind of familiar with distinguishing gender from sex, from sexuality, from sexual orientation, the more we become equipped with being with nuance and difference, the less we’ll strive to go to these binaries, homosexual, heterosexual, male, female. You know it’s like yes, no, right, wrong, good, bad.

AH          Yeah. So we’ve begun recording couples having a conversation together where one of them has transitioned. Do you have a sense of how those couples navigate the world? Does that cause stress on a relationship?

Carole     You bet it does. So in my own work as a therapist also, I’ve seen couples who one is choosing to go through transition. And I think that the ones, the couples that I’ve worked with, most of them have not known stepping into the relationship that that would happen.

Carole     It can and often does cause stress in different ways. Let’s say you have two people who have identified as lesbians. And let’s say one of those persons learns over time, like they might feel something is off or like something just isn’t right. They might not have had language for it or they might have known and never shared it, but let’s say over time, what evolves is that I actually feel more male, like actually what’s been happening to me is kind of a gender dysphoria. Even before I feel more male, it might be, “I don’t feel right in this.” Whether that’s in my body or just the identity.

AH          And when you say dysphoria, what do you mean?

Carole     There is the notion that somebody can have the experience of not relating to the gender that they were born into, that was assigned at birth, and not actually feel a lot of distress around that, feel pretty clear, and then they may choose to just identify as another gender or not any binary gender, just kind of… they might be fine and be fine with their body the way it is. So people are under the incorrect assumption that if somebody doesn’t identify as like male or female that there’s some problem and they’re looking to get surgery and hormones and all of that. It’s not necessarily the route someone is going to take at all. But let’s say that that if somebody is having distress with their kind of this not feeling aligned with the gender that they were assigned at birth, that’s what I mean by dysphoria.

Carole     And boy, when a world doesn’t understand what you’re experiencing, the likelihood of you experiencing distress is just naturally higher

AH          By that definition, the things that couples in those kinds of relationships, that’s just a lot more to deal with.

Carole     I actually think potentially it offers the opportunity and the gift to allow your partner to be who they are and to be other than you and other than your expectations of them. That brings a rise up in a lot of partnerships. And so I think there’s something very powerful.

AH          It’s almost like takes a dynamic that exists in all relationship which is sort of where do you end and I begin and how similar are we and it sort of says, “We’re going to deal with this front and center such a big way that we can’t ignore this elephant in the room and we’re going to tackle it.” I see that gift.

Carole     And it can be challenging as gifts can be. For example couples who I’ve worked with who let’s say have gone through the process of being lesbians in a culture that can be still homophobic and so that they’ve had the process of coming out. So then let’s say you have that and one of the partners begins transitioning into male, identifies as male. So then you’ve got the interesting conundrum, “Well, wait a minute, I’m not heterosexual,” says the other partner “Wait a minute. This doesn’t feel okay.”

AH          Right.

Carole     And I haven’t been attracted to men. So what’s going to happen to my attraction to you? It can be a loss. Well, geez! I’ve known you this way or I’ve been attracted to you kind of with this body. Your body actually might start changing and I feel a little bit of loss which then can be hard for the person who’s transitioning but this is who I am. But I’ve seen actually the couples I’ve worked with work it out.

AH          And wade through that.

Carole     Wade and become so much more open to who humans can be.

AH          It does seem like there’s a fundamental shift here that is happening and that is still needs to happen. What’s the thing you’d want to say most to say our legislators or a community of people that don’t get it?

Carole     It’s not what you think. Get curious. Particularly legislators, policy makers, it really is all about relationship actually in some fundamental way because they’re representing humans. Let’s get curious and keep the question alive again as opposed to trying to, “Okay, now we have male, female, transgender. Okay, got that.”

AH          All right, we’ll give an answer.

Carole     Yeah. Yeah. We’ve got it all categorized. Okay.

AH          Enough.

Carole     And let your mind pop. It’s like, “Okay. It will come back together in some way.”

AH          So you’re doing good work.

Carole     Well, I’m having fun, like I’m loving it I have to say.

AH          What makes you love it so much?

Carole     We’re all grappling in our imperfections. And I hope we learn to keep them because again, the societal thing is like we have to reap some kind of perfect state where we’re categorized and it’s clear and we can all relax. I think it just comes back to that, increasing our capacity for who we can be and how we can express and allowing other beings to be who they are. I think I came into the world with that thirst.

THAT WAS CAROLE CLEMENTS. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT HER RESEARCH AND CURRICULUM BY VISITING NAROPA UNIVERSITY AT NAROPA.EDU.

THANK YOU TO JO AND JACOB FOR SHARING THEIR STORY. PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES, ADVOCACY GROUPS, ARTICLES, AND RECOMMENDED BOOKS AND FILMS.

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Carole Clements Bonus Segment – Transcript

Carole      My name is Carole Clements. I am an associated professor of Contemplative Psychology at Naropa University. I also serve as Dean of Naropa College, which is undergraduate education. And additionally, I am a Contemplative Psychotherapist in private practice, working more and more almost exclusively in the realm of relationships and sexuality including issues of gender and gender-nonconforming folks.

Carole      So there was a researcher, Lisa Diamond, who did an interesting study. It was actually with people who identified as female, as woman, into… she was curious about how fluid their sexuality was or if it stayed the same way throughout a lifetime and what she found out was that sexuality similar to what Kinsey said years ago that there was a continuum, The Heterosexual-Homosexual Continuum, right? We’re not like one way or the other.

AH            One or the other.

Carole      That’s right. There’s this continuum, and Lisa Diamond’s more recent research is actually talks about sexuality being quite fluid that it changes. It can actually change.

AH            Over time.

Carole      Over time, yeah.

AH            What do you do if you’re born with a penis but you don’t identify as male?

Carole      Historically what we’ve done is we’ve linked up gender with penis or gender with vagina or vulva.

AH            So even in my question, I had it wrong.

Carole      I’d say. I mean, I don’t know wrong feels strong. You know?

AH            Okay. All right.

Carole      But I mean, again, no, I actually think in a way you had it right, that’s how we think in these gender terms, right Andy? So we think like male means penis. That’s like wild to me, like what does that mean? You know what I mean? And so gender is actually way more fluid than that just because somebody has whatever genitalia they have doesn’t mean it’s who they are.

AH            Yeah. God! I can feel my mind just like…

Carole      Yeah, that’s what happens. Yeah.

AH            It’s confusing.

Carole      Yeah. Because we’ve been so kind of we could say almost like indoctrinated or like societally… we’re gendering all the time. Seeing –

AH            You call it gendering?

Carole      Gendering. It’s like this verb, like it’s this thing we’re constantly doing.

AH            Yeah, categorizing. What are you? What are you?

Carole      Totally. Totally.

Carole      Because then I can rest. But isn’t that interesting? Then I can rest to know who you are. So think about the implication of that. “Okay, do you have a penis? Okay. So now I kind of know who you are, I can rest and then I can also go back to those traits and think, ‘Okay, so you’re probably going to be more this way and this way and this way.’”

AH            And then therefore, I can treat you based on that. That means now there’s a structure to how we interact.

Carole      Exactly.

AH            Oh God.

AH            Yeah. But there’s a level of safety to it I think too.

Carole      Yeah.

Carole      So the level of safety and security, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. But we might actually think about it in terms of like belonging. We want to belong. We want to like be in relationship with each other.

AH            That’s even almost deeper than safety.

Carole      Yeah.

AH            Doing our own personal work so that then we can be in the world in a more open expansive sort of way is really important because if you’re not doing it, then you’ve already limited yourself in your path as you interact with the world.

Carole      I would say. I mean for me, that’s when the fun arises. Then it gets a little sparkly, like a little less constrictive and a little more open and like, “Wow! The playground just got way bigger.”

AH            And that’s kind of cool.

Carole      That’s cool, with a lot more people and a lot more experiences.

Carole      We live in a society that is heteronormative. Yeah. What that means is different from heterosexuality. Heterosexuality is an attraction. It’s an attraction. It’s fine. Heteronormativity is making that attraction, that kind of attraction normative the way it should be. And heteronormativity is further expanded into a way of life which has to do usually with a mother and a father and children and is not so supportive of singles or people who choose to be childless. So it’s this whole, again, life trajectory. So that this kind of tosses all of that up.

AH            And people like order. We want to make sense of things.

Carole      Yeah. Yeah.

AH            And this sort of says, “Everything that you thought is no longer true. How you like them apples?”

Carole Yeah. Yeah. And people don’t, right? It’s scary at first. There’s the privilege of heteronormativity. We actually don’t realize. That’s like my way of “life”.

AH            How do we get this out there in the world? I wish this was in the larger cultural conversation.

Carole      I think we don’t tell enough story. That’s where the truth is. We don’t tell enough story about what’s really happening in relationship and I think the more we hear a story, the more we realized we are isolated, we are alone, we are fucked up by ourselves, you know what I mean? We’re not just like… we’re all grappling in our imperfections. And I hope we learn to keep them because again, the societal thing is like we have to reap some kind of perfect state where we’re categorized and it’s clear and we can all relax.

Carole      One of the things I tell my students, particularly in the relationship course, “Do not think I know this. I am not an expert at anything. I’m here. I’m a learner. I’m learning this.” That’s how I’m going. That’s lifelong.

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2017-04-18T09:46:32+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Transcript|0 Comments

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