A few weeks ago, I was at my auntie’s house and I was playing with my five year old cousin while she was telling me about her best friend. When she had finished talking to me about her, she told me that she was going to marry her, to which my immediate reaction was ‘you can’t marry a girl!’ My cousin looked confused and told me that her mother told her she could marry a boy or a girl, and I didn’t know what to say. Should I tell her that she is right? Or is she too young to know about those kinds of things?
Later on, I was still thinking about it, and I felt ashamed of myself that my instant response to her saying she wanted to marry her friend was that she couldn’t marry her because she was a girl. I know that obviously she wasn’t seriously about to marry her friend, but it did make me think that the world would be a much nicer place if these kinds of things were instilled into children from the day there were born – as much as being gay is commonplace in today’s society, there is obviously still a certain taboo about it if people still struggle to ‘come out’ to their family and friends, when surely if it was as acceptable as we like to think, parents would always assume that there would be a chance that their child would be gay and they would be taught that that would be completely normal and right if they were.
My personal belief is that no one is entirely straight and no one is entirely gay; I can’t understand the concept that out of the three and a half billion people of each gender in the world, there isn’t at least one of each that you could fall in love with. I wonder with some people who consider themselves completely straight for example, if they met someone who they had a ridiculous amount in common with, had the same sense of humour and had brilliant chemistry with, surely what gender they are has the same relevance as the colour of their eyes? I am aware that there are a lot of people – mainly men – who disagree with me completely, which I can accept because there was a time when I would have disagreed too.
On the 19th March, Lucy Meadows took her own life after the press released stories of her battle with gender dysmorphia. Lucy was previously a man named Nathan, and she worked in a primary school in Lancashire when it was publicised by a reporter named Richard Littlejohn that by undergoing the operation to reassign her gender, she was putting her own ‘selfish needs above the wellbeing of the children.’ I am perfectly aware that being transgender has little to do with sexuality, but the same issue prevails; why shouldn’t children be taught about these kinds of issues? I am very sure that if Ms Meadows had continued to work as a teacher she would have provided a lot of understanding for the children that she taught, and if it so happened one of those children struggled with their own gender like she had, she would have given that child inspiration and the confidence to continue making the brave decisions which come alongside gender reassignment surgery.
A lot of people believe that the children at the school were, in fact, too young to be ‘exposed’ to transgender – my first instinct is that that is ludicrous, what is there to be exposed to? In my opinion, it is completely admirable that someone who is desperately unhappy with the body that they were born with has made the incredibly brave decision to not only change it, but also have to go through the changes in front of everyone that they know. However, after my reaction to my cousin telling me she wanted to marry a girl, I’m not sure that that would have been my first reaction, and I regret that. Children aren’t scared of the world because they haven’t learnt anything to be scared of – therefore if children are taught about homosexuality and transgender from an early age they will understand it, be at ease with it, and in fact there will come a time in years to come when maybe homophobia would no longer have to exist.
It may be too little too late now for the family of Ms Meadows, but I for one believe that she was an incredibly brave woman to take control of a body that she was unhappy with and not comply with an uneducated and ignorant society, and if she was alive for me to meet her today I would tell her how amazingly inspirational she would grow to be for all of the children that would have had the pleasure of being taught by her.