You know that State Farm commercial, where the husband is having a late night phone call with his state Farm rep, and his wife walks in on him speaking on the phone? The wife, who appears ridiculously and quite inaccurately insecure, snatches the phone from her husband to speak with the person on the phone, asking them who they were.
Her assumed effort in demanding those answers from Jake from State Farm was to determine her apparent suspicions were correct and the person on the phone was not Jake from State Farm but instead, a “woman”. When she speaks to Jake, she hands the phone back to her husband telling him that Jake sounds “hideous”, in which her husband replies, “Well he is a man”.
Now, many people may not initially see the disrespect indicative in that husband’s last statement and that right there, in and of itself, is a major source of the societal ill of transgender shaming. The vivid indication in the husand’s “Well he’s a man” response, to his wife’s statement “She sounds hideous!”, is that any “woman” that sounds like a “man” would clearly sound “hideous”.
If nothing else, that indication suggests there is an automatic binary that separates all humans into “men” and “women” and reinforces the validation of what is considered “man” or a “woman”. A “woman” that sounds like a “man”, inherently sounds “hideous”, or extremely freaking ugly. Which makes me question, so how might you then describe a “woman” that looks like a “man”?
By correlating what makes a “woman” sound attractive, or lack thereof, with the deepness of Jake’s voice, which is what I am freely assuming the wife was doing, she reinforced gender norms that not only defines criteria of a “man” or a “woman” but also, what designates “women” as attractive.
That entire scene essentially worked to validate deep voices as a representation of “manliness” and furthermore, created ample space to then assume that anything that is supposed to be feminine, should not represent manliness because a “woman” that sounds like a “man”, obviously means she sounds “hideous”.
In essence, the commercial scene ultimately works as the watering of the seed of transgender shaming. Transgender shaming grows from roots of very narrow and pervasive socially constructed opinions of what defines God’s creations as a “man” or “woman”, otherwise known as gender norms and gender typing.
Expanding our understanding of the complex and yet, very simple nature of gender identity, a key aspect of sexuality that is often overlooked or under- discussed, we all could very quickly begin to deconstruct, dismantle, interrupt and ultimately destroy the gender norms that validate trangender shaming.
By simply acknowledging and fully honoring the disrespect embedded in the subtle and significant messages of this commercial, whether considered overt or not and consciously done for ill intent or not, you are empowering the very existence of cis and trans people, being just that, people.
By simply calling a person a person you empower one another to be what we identifies as, and more importantly, you acknowledge and affirm our oneness as people. You are you. I am me. And so it is. That’s it nothing more. No labels. No definitions other self definition. And no validation other than self validation. That’s what can be born from reexamining the disrespect embedded in our media and personal perceptions of one another and working to readjust that.
I could, and at multiple points, plan to go into many more discussions about improving and fortifying the acts of solidarity, support and respect that we can add to our daily lives and commitments to help decimate a world that creates societies where 1 in 12 transgender people are murdered a year and 49% attempt suicide a year, for being persecuted due to their acknowledgement of the truth that no, God doesn’t ever get it wrong when He hand designs each of His creations!
But instead, affirming that our Creator made us all, but especially the strong and spiritually dynamic transgender spirit (as any spirit that is deigned to fight against their physical form immediately from birth, is always the most dynamic of spirit… I would know!), exactly that way for a reason!
Because He crafts each of us with careful consideration of our individual service in His grand purpose, with no mistake! The only problem and major mistake was made by a society that is more concerned with validating the wicked appropriation of God’s world while, always working to invalidate and destroy the beauty in God’s truest and most beautiful creations and reflections of His light.
I look forward into going more into the new language we all can adapt, in light of our very categorical manner of defining one another, to help understand or classify people respectfully, or as they would choose to be classified. Just cause, I want to quickly mention CIS- gender. A person who identifies with being cisgender simply acknowledges that they identify with the gender assigned to them at birth, whether it be “male” or “female”.
A person who’s gender identity is transgender , in addition to other identities like gender non conforming, acknowledges that they do not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. For some, that could mean, you were assigned “female” at birth and identify as a “male”. For others, it could mean that you were assigned “male” and don’t identify with either of the binary categories. Ultimately though, I believe that it’s not about labels and this game of life would become a lot easier if we put less emphasis on what to call people and just, called people, ya know!
I could keep going forever, seriously! For now, I will leave you with relatively recent transgender current events, so to speak, that I have seen in the media and believe help to provide profound insight on the plight of the transgender struggle, how far the struggle has come, and the realities facing transgender populations worldwide. Enjoy! And please feel free to post your own updates in the comments sections!
Transgender Talk in the Media:
- R Kelly’s Son Coming Out as Transgender: In spite of all of the willingly ignorant and archaic conversations and discussions surrounding this news, Jay’s affirmation of his true gender identity is nothing but validation of the light finally coming in this announcement. As people are more concerned with R. Kelly’s reactions and ability or lack thereof, to support his son in the amazing, yet often challenging transition, there is little conversation about Jay’s story and the reality of what it means to be labeled as a transgender person.
- Ryland Whittington’s Story: Blessed video of the journey for one transgender little boy, who ultimately isn’t only teaching his family, friends and community a valuable lesson about peoplehood and God’s greatest creations, but also the entire world! It’s amazing! And I want to make a note, the story is only amazing because of Ryalnd’s resilience, individualism and perserverance! His parents may be the most amazing of people and parents, it’s not for me to judge but what they did for their son was not remarkable or spectacular or even high fiveable. They did what they were supposed to do as parents. Love their child unconditionally. That’s all God ordained them to do. So, maybe they could represent the beauty of what God ordained parents to be, as I’d definitely concur with that. All in all though, Ryalnd is clearly the star here!
- Janet Mock on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert: Janet Mock is amazing, beautiful and resilient! I am excited to see her how impactful she will be as a spokesperson and face of everything righteous, as her poise and candidness are one of a kind in a world that is so scared of real truth and real beauty! Her appearance on the Colbert Report was an impeccable reinforcement of the human dynamics visible in the transgender movement for societal equity and within the very essence of folks who identify with the transgender community.
**For your own reference, you can find the Jake From State Farm Commercial, by clicking on that link which will take you to the YouTube video**