Some Thoughts on the Gender Binary and Everything Else in Between, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Some Thoughts on The Gender Binary

And Everything Else

In Between

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

What I am about to share is going to piss somebody off.  Seems that way about most everything I say nowadays.  However, if you truly have faith in your God, or you truly have faith in who you are as human being, then what you are about to read should not be threatening to anything you believe or experience.  This is not to say that what I have written here is perfect.  Far from it.  Language barriers, prejudices, and fears—yours and my own– make that impossible.  Let’s get on with it.  I am ready for the mean, hateful, harmful, and trolling comments from “both” sides (and “both” is in quotations because well, you’ll see). I am also ready for nice comments.  I am inviting them too. I hope.

I will give you that the idea of the binary exists.  I know, many scientists today say the gender binary doesn’t exist in the ways we’ve traditionally thought, and I totally support their findings.  That said, the idea of polarities exists. It is seemingly everywhere—day and night, cold and hot, light and dark, rainy days and clear days, fire and water, sky and earth.  Having given you that, you will inevitably need to give me, that there isn’t, and never will be, a truly individuated or separate representation or living form that will ever exist on the opposite ends of the binary.  For the opposite ends of the binary are only ideas, even if they are created by God. If this scares you, then so must the idea of the morning, or of the evening, or rainbows, or singing.

The opposite ends of the binary only exist to overtake the other—swallow it up, merge within in it, into and unto, itself—not in battle, never forced—but in dance and song, and flavor.  That is the miracle, that is the beginning of all things.  The purpose of the binary is not to separate, but to join, merge, and hence, create.

No one can imagine the idea of the opposites without seeing, feeling, experiencing, knowing, or witnessing that they are all in some relationship with the other.

Go ahead, stand on the earth without forever being also in the sky.  Be in the middle of a perfectly sunny day and not know that evening is already on its way.  Step into a pool that you want not too hot and not to cold.  You get what I’m saying.

Having given you that the binary exists as theoretical reference points (I know, I know, the Bible says God created male and female and it also says: Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones,” or, “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”   I know, I know, you can take a verse of the Bible and use it to back up even the most outlandish ideas.  Like this one: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.”  I know you can take the fact that God killed about 25 million people in the Bible to represent the killing of our unbelief or to justify the slaughter of unbelievers, but then again, so do some Muslims).  It is high time and low time, to grasp and let go, once and for all, and forever anew, the idea that the front of a coin can be separated from the back.  They exist because of one another and because of what they manifest—and in the case of human existence—they manifest all that is wonderful (not the coins themselves, but what they represent, well, not what they represent, but what they demonstrate).

Cold is nothing unless heat exists.  Up means nothing without down.  Music is only heard in silence. Purple only arises between shades of blue and shades of red. Death prowls and life blooms.  It is the space between them that brings forth all things; where all things wondrous, flavorful, truthful (yes, truthful), and just plain living—exist.  It is in the mingling where the fun begins.

Two people do not have sex in order to annihilate the other.  They have sex to blend together, breathe and gasp together, come together.  It is this joining of bodies, souls, hearts, and minds that brings forth life.

I know, I just got done saying the opposite ends of the binary only exist to overtake the other.  Remember what I also said—the true opposite ends of the binary do not exist except in theory.  You will never find them in life—no man is ever just a man—he has his “feminine” side.  No woman is ever just a woman.  She will have her “masculine” side.  God becomes the mother hen to keep us safe under his wings.  No night is ever not slipping into day.

And that is my point.  Living is in the union.  Fun is in the merging.  Wonder is in the rainbow.  Beauty is in the evening sky.

So please, just as you cannot deny the idea of the binary, you cannot deny the existence of infinite variety, or of the intricate, heavenly, ever-expanding spectrum between the opposite ends of that binary.

I know, there are flaws in what I say.  Language makes things messy and muddles meaning up. You can easily take my words and use them to prove the exact opposite of what I am saying.  That being what it is—you cannot lose sight (well, you can out of your own shadowy, shame-based fears—and we all have them) that all the good stuff lives within and on and with and along a spectrum.  And nothing in between threatens the existence of the binary. The binary will always be the idealized ideas of opposites in the same way day and night will be always be idealized ideas of opposites.  I do not use the word “idealized” to mean better.  I mean it to say, the ultimate opposite ends of the spectrum only exist as ideas.  They never truly manifest, one without the other.

Go ahead, flip a coin.  Not only does it rise, tumbling upwards into the air, it also tumbles down landing on either heads or tails—and these will never exist one without the other—front and back. But I said that already, and I will say it again, at risk of being repetitive (the crusty idea of the idealized binary has been repeated for eons, but so has the idea that God creates souls to burn them in hell, or that the earth is flat, or that slavery is ever a human thing to do). So, I repeat:

It is the stuff that exists along the spectrum that is most intensely alive.  It is the dance between stillness and movement, music and silence, light and darkness, male and female, death and life that makes existence wonderful.  We are born, we die, and it is the living in between that gives either of these meaning (and please don’t think I am associating masculinity with light and darkness with femininity. Remember, however, that language is goofy.  Then again, feel free to associate anything with anything—you’ll get a good idea of how you live your life).

The spectrum is undeniable, and completely, and utterly, wondrously, beautiful, vibrant, and living.

So please do not tell me I do not exist as a transgender person.  I am a living arc–a living rainbow “across” genders. Please do not tell my queer friends, non-binary friends, asexual friends, and so on—that they do not exist.  We are the beauty and meaning of the ideas of so-called, male and female.  We are what is meant to be celebrated because the true opposites will never exist in form.  Murder is not always bad or the Christian religion would mean nothing.  Rebellion is not always bad or else freedom would not exist.  This is not relativism. This is reality.  No one loves without a hint of hate.   No one prays without a hint of doubt.

People like me are the rainbows, we are the mornings and evenings, we are that place where stars and darkness dance.  We are the perfect temperature for swimming.  We are the space between inhaling and exhaling.  We are the glorious existence of form.  And we include all gender identities, all gender expressions, every gender preferences, every rainbow, every song, and every breath.  And so then, we include you.

Do not fear the rainbow.  Go find it, and take out your phones and snap pictures of it.  Give thanks to Goddess for it. Take a selfie with it in the background.  It is a sign that God will never again destroy the earth with a flood—a flood of ignorance, fear, bigotry, or hatred.  The rainbow is the spectrum that blooms from the skies of our souls.

 

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Rising, Falling, Rising, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Rising, Falling, Rising

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Watching the particles of dust

Falling in the lamplight

Of my bedroom reminds me

 

We are all falling,

Largely unseen in a light

So bright we careen into it, like

So many infinitesimally small moths.

 

Have you ever tried

Focusing your eyes

On a specific speck of falling dust–

The tiniest sliver of a snowflake,

As it sailed the currents

Of air in your room?

 

I have. After several attempts,

Which resulted in losing sight

Of the scintilla of dust in the white of the wall,

I was finally able to trace one

Descend, like the smallest slice of string

From some disintegrating, illuminated leaf,

 

It fell, and I saw it rise

When I exhaled, dip suddenly

When I inhaled, bank wanderingly

Towards the wall, tail back

And make my eyes cross

When it landed on my face.

 

Remember this:

After you turn out the light

Grains of dust fall upon you,

Pieces of pieces of falling white feathers

Slowly, methodically, like

The faintest of snow falls,

Covers you and everything

You love, like snow-embers

From some unseen fire,

 

And one day, when you realize

Your life is being traced by a greater

Vision, you will wake up

And see your life brushed

With ash, and you will rise,

Shake it off, remember

You are a pinch of stardust,

A dash of spice, a smidgen

Of fragrance, and it is time

To elaborate on the trajectory

Of your dreams, and turn the unavoidable

Process of falling

Into flying—

Flying into the light

Of your own brilliant desires.

 

 


 


 




The Next Neighborhood Over, by Radiance Angelina Petro

The Next Neighborhood Over

By

Radiance Angelina Petro


Trying to follow the sound

Of the cicadas is what it’s like

Trying to follow the sound

Of god.

 

Cicadas throw their voices

And you can think one

Is right up in that tree over there,

When, in fact, it is actually

In a tree in the next neighborhood over.

 

Trying to trace the sound

Of god one finds oneself

Tracing figures in the air,

Or wishes on the shore.

 

 

Listening to the sound

Of god is much easier

Than asking the source

Of that sound questions.

 

When the cicada stops singing

And falls unseen

From its branch high up

In the tree, the silence

Signals us that change is here—

 

We realize waiting for answers

Is foolish and a waste–

Autumn is coming.

 

So we had better be prepared.

 

When we notice

There is no singing in the trees,

When we realize we have forgotten

Entirely about the sound—

We know winter is here.

 

And if we don’t do something

Outlandish and daring

In order to try making the sound

Ourselves,

Our ears will freeze over with regret,

Our hearts will harden from lack of use.

And our dreams—the ones

We used to use as compasses

To follow the sound

Of god, will be carried away, like

The shell of a cicada,

Like the shell of a sound,

Like the shell of a god

That used to play

Hide and seek with us

From the next neighborhood over.



 

 




Thank you for supporting my transition.  Radiance <3

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