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


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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Transcendencies, A Transgender Manifesto, by Jennifer Angelina Petro


A Transgender Manifesto


Jennifer Angelina Petro



We are all transcendentalists

Seeking to live above duality and paradox,

We are all transcendent,

Shining across space and time in clouds

Of oxygen and carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen;

Each and every one of us transcends

Something, or someone, or somehow

Or someday—just to be able to stand here catching our breath—

We transcend and we become—

It is as simple as that.


Our blood streams are transcontinental,

Our lives holy translations of spirit and soul,

And if we are lucky, we sense ourselves being

Transcribed onto the pages of the world

And can take comfort in knowing

Our lives are written, revised, edited, and published

By storylines far greater than ours—


We are all transfigured, like Jesus on the transmountain

And then resurrected to life everlasting

Every time we transcend ourselves to become ourselves–

Life is nothing but a series of ongoing

Transplantations and transferals of fluids and spirit–

We transmogrify our way through life–

And time is transinfinite—shifting over and ever through

Many transhistorical points of references

That are increasingly transcultural and transhuman, and

Full of blood and wishes—

Everything we do, say, or think

Is transformative, setting events into motion

That change us and our world—


We are all transients and haven’t a clue—

Even beyond our so-called beliefs, where or when, how, or why

We will be transformed and/or transported

To otherness, to other transpossibilities—


Our spirits translocate and love transelevates us—

We are transpirited and our souls translucent,

Transmissible, and transoceanic—-

Why not rejoice and dance with one another

And love the best of who we are?


Yes, I am transpierced with pain,

Yes, I have been transplanted inside

And the ground softens with every step;

Yes, I am transpolar and songs and poems

Come aching to be transubstantiated into form through me,

And yet, even as I move through a series

Of neverending transversals only to find myself

Transported into more hatred, ignorance,

And shadow-driven insecurities of the white men—

I am still here—I have not given up yet—


I transilluminate boundaries

That no longer have solid meaning—they never did,

But now monsters are waking up to the truth that gender

Is not fixed—it is transfixed—and no longer the transaxle

Of a tired binary sustained by them—the white men—

Whose own genitals they never truly know,

Or love, or transform into possibilities without shame—

Even though everything about people like me is transubstantiated

By living, breathing experience—for here I am, and yet I am told

I do not exist—I am told I do not deserve to exist—

Even though everything exists based on continuous

Transformations of spirit and body,

And long, transcendent series of moments

Spilling into other moments into which we are all

Given choices to hurt or to heal, love or to hate,

Explore or destroy—and the occurrences of transpeople

Hurting anyone are rare—for true transpeople

Understand pain as few others do————-


What makes you think you can transpose

An already faulty belief system to justify or rationalize

Your unjustifiable and irrational actions and laws?


Do you really think humanity will not eventually wise up

To your genocidal ways?


Be ye transported into a land where transcendencies

Are accepted as commonplace—because, in actuality,

They already are—


We all transmute oxygen and water

And food into our transubstantiating metabolisms—

Everything we do is a transaction of time and space

Body, mind, spirit, soul—no matter how far we move

From one another, we are all transactors,

And our breath transoceanic, and our lives

Transferrable with one another’s—


It will happen despite your barbaric ideas—

I will not be transfixed by your gaze—You

Who cannot think past your own shadow—

I am a living transmission of messages

Who illuminates your small mindedness.


I am not here to inspire some kind

Of transcultural revolution—

I AM a revolution—I am

Transfiguration transanimated by my every movement,

And I live as a thorn in the side

Of the white man who has lost any ability—

Indeed—if they ever had any—to transmute limited thinking

Into growth, evolution, wisdom, common sense—

Love and true, “Christian” charity—

The Jesus transfigured on the mount does not know

Hatred—no matter what Paul tried to tattoo

Onto him—Jesus was transgender—transforming

God-seed into woman-flesh—

And back again to seed and flower for all eternity—You can know this

With all certainty, if you will only look past your own

Untouched, unloved, unabused genitals—

Jesus came to transfigure you and to set your limited beliefs on fire,

Jesus came to give you a transfusion to flush out

Your hatred both of yourself and of those

Who truly live as he suggested—steeped in the beatitudes

So deeply as to be transcribed into living testaments

Of love’s transcendent power—


Come, shed your mantles of tissue and weariness,

Come shed your tired ideological transparencies,

And transmigrate with me to a way of living where Jesus reigns

Alongside the mother tree and the angels

Of transmogrification, and beings of transdimensional

Singing and dancing—


For we all transpire–and will–sooner than we want,

Life is transonic, yes, but it is death that comes at the speed of sound—

And when it does we shall all be transposed against a backdrop of light

And seen for how we really lived and breathed—

So live now with me, with us—we are your brothers and sisters

And siblings of light transilluminated with holy,

And unending folly and grace, and joy transacted

Into countless transferals—let us all be

Translocated into here and now—transgiven

Transcendencies in love, sweet love,









Thoughts on the Word Transgender, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Thoughts on the Word Transgender
Jennifer Angelina Petro



The word “transgender” is beginning to bug me. “Trans” comes from the Latin, and means, “to cross over,” or “to go through to the other side,” (think transportation, translate, transplant, transatlantic). The more I think about it, the more I realize that isn’t an accurate description of who I am. It may seem that way to you (and even to me), and to other people who feel comfortable in the traditional gender binary, but the truth is I haven’t crossed over into anything. I have not gone over or through to the other side of anything. I am a woman. Always have been. Always will be. I know, I know, we all thought I was male for all those years. I get it. That doesn’t change the truth of who I am—no matter what the labels say.
I am beginning to feel the same way about the word “transitioning” for similar reasons even though I use the word all the time myself. “Transitioning” also means “a going over or across.” Of course, it’s the word that’s out there to describe what society thinks is happening to me. However, I am not crossing over from being male to being female. I have always BEEN female. Just because we didn’t know it until last year doesn’t make it any less true. The more I believe I am crossing over from being male to being female, the more opportunities I open myself up to for misunderstanding or even violence.

It’s true I am adjusting to the realization of being a woman. I am making attempts at living more comfortably in my own skin with the body I was born in (which also isn’t accurate—I was born “into” a woman’s body (from outside where, by the way?)—a woman’s body that just happens to have parts traditionally indentified as “male.”). So I will say instead—I am making attempts at living more comfortably in this body that is mine—this body that doesn’t match the typical societal expectations of what a woman’s body is supposed to look like. I am making changes in my appearance to better reflect who I finally realize I am—not to better reflect who I am outwardly with who I am inwardly. No. I am making changes because now that I see the truth of who I am I want and need to shed the scales of the conditioning I received growing up. I want to honor who I really am. I am not “presenting” either—I am simply living.

My parents tried to “masculinize” me and I do not fault them for that. They did what they thought was best with extremely limited information from doctors who also did not understand, and who actively tried to hide the truth, as well as little societal or religious enlightenment. However, the trappings put around me effectively clouded my inner and outer perception of myself as female. As the windows of my spirit cleared however, the trappings began to fall away. And while this may still sound like I was a woman trapped in a male body, it was really more that I simply appeared to be male.

Now, should we say I have a medical condition (a birth-defect?) in which the body I have doesn’t fit the gender I really am? A few weeks ago I would have said yes—it’s something like that. Now I want to say—no. The body I have fits the gender I am. What it doesn’t fit is societies expectations (or my own) of what male and female mean and should look/sound/act like. Just because day and night seem like they are on opposite ends of a spectrum doesn’t mean genders are. Mornings and evenings are when the skies are mixed—blended, woven—making them exqusitiely beautiful. I am a weaving of body-understandings that still, no matter what—end and begin with me being a woman. To say I have a birth defect suggests the only normal is the traditional conceptions of “male” and “female.”

Using the word “transgender” somehow creates a screen—some sort of ultimate safety barrier from allowing myself—or society–to accept the reality of the situation. To call me transgender puts a little distance between myself as a woman and society’s (and my own) paradigms of what that means. To just call myself a woman—or for you to call me a woman—shatters everything we understand as “normal.” People like me become viewed as abnormal, dangerous, and perverted. To be called “transgender” implies a sort of cosmic mix up—one that oddly both santizes and misrepresents the truth. It may make it easier for people to understand and wrap their minds around what I look like, act like, and speak like—and have for decades, but it really does not describe who I am as a person.

How did the term “transgender” come about? According to the TransMediaWatch Site the terms first became popular in the 60’s:

“1965, USA: The word ‘transgenderism’ is first used in a medical text by Dr John F. Oliven, where he uses it is to mean transsexualism. It is given quite a different meaning and popularized by Virginia Prince (1913-2009) in the 1970s. Prince claims to have invented the word herself, and uses it to define people who live full time in their chosen gender, without necessarily having had, or even wanting to have, gender confirming surgery. The difference in meaning between Oliven’s and Prince’s use of this word creates discontent and divisions in some sections of the trans community to this day.”
So I think we need a new word to describe people like me. I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest the tiresome binary-constricted: “male,” and “female,” or better yet, “human,” without any prefixes or any qualifiers.

Whatever word I choose the main thing is I continue to grow in love for myself as a citizen of the world deserving of all freedom and joy. In the words of Jon Anderson from Yes:

“There’s a word……and the word is love.”






Joseph Anthony Petro


You have broken my heart again.
I see your staccato signals,
I know you are rogue stars
Who let go of their moorings and escaped.
Oh how I long to be like you.

I know caterpillars dissolve
Into a hiding place of their own making.
I know all about that.
What I don’t know is: do they have faith in wings?
Do they believe they carry within themselves
A drop of air waiting to be freed?

I see flowers blooming at night,
I see the pink and purple sunsets
That were hiding all day behind the blue.
I know it is the coming darkness
Combined with dust and the disappearing sun
That makes the watercolor skies.

I hope when I am free of this cage—
When I am not beholden to what anyone thinks or says
Or what the mirror has been telling me
All these years—I hope I will shine, like
A galaxy of fireflies on a hot summer night,
I hope I will dance among the flowers—
Wings fluttering flamboyantly, baptized
By the clear, open light of day.
I hope when the stars of truth separate
From the backdrop void of lies
That I will find a place among the trees
And dazzle the world.







Joseph Anthony Petro



The longer I live, the more I realize flamboyant pink flamingoes
Splash in the shallow, blue water of my being.
The more I move the more I sense my bones house a marrow of light.
Somewhere in my cells and those elegant strands of DNA,
The sun, the moon, and all the stars in between weave
Into one rippling tapestry of aliveness.
The more I breathe with my whole body the more I wash my hands
Of the tiresome dualities and ever-expanding binaries.
The more I take mischievous delight in skirting the margins and bathing
In a spectrum of sensual possibilities, the more I dance with recherché impulses
And experience in between spaces opening like songs on which I can ride, like
Magic carpets, and be lifted to liberated places.
The more I participate in the unclouded awareness of sheer potential,
Where authenticity breeds and freedom spirals in satins and silks,
The more I dream of angels who embrace me and whisper in my ear:
“It’s not too late. Come. There are many of us.
Glide while walking home.”