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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

Happy Pride Month!  As with many months that are dedicated to celebrating the diversity of our culture, Pride Month comes with supporting rights in the streets and in the courts. With the push towards inclusion to all in our country, many people have been bravely exercising their right to share their voices and thoughts with our greater society.

This has put gender equality and recognition at the center of many conversations in our country, and specifically in our city. This conversation has begun to look at gender through a lens of fluidity as opposed to a perspective of either this or that  (or really, boy and girl). This sets up the “normative” conversations about ways to view gender in our society to benefit all instead of those who have felt gender fluidity- or overlapping lines of gender identity/fluctuation, their whole lives. The new platform is giving many New Yorkers a voice. A chance to be seen and identified properly. As we can suspect, this also inevitably is a conversation that finds its way to the political realms.

Fittingly in line with Pride Month, Mayor Bill DeBlasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson proposed adding a third option to the gender portion of the New York State birth certificate. This would allow adults to choose a third option “Gender X” on their birth certificate.

“This proposal will allow transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and make our city fairer,” said the Mayor. Currently, there is a third option available for parents to choose “x” under the gender on their birth certificate which would allow their child to identify their sex in the future. This proposal would allow adults to change their identification as well.

While New York could be considered one of the trailblazers in the current society to legally offer a third gender on their birth certificates it would not be the first one. We’re coming on the coattails of California, Oregon, Washington (and Washington, D.C. for drivers’ licenses). The embracement of a third gender option is not something that is new, it has existed in cultures for generation and has been a foundation of families.  You can find the Muxes in Mexico, two-spirit of the Navajo, Fa’Afafines in Somoa, and Hijras in India. As spiritual and family staples the people who have identified as the third gender have been accepted and respected for generations.

So it seems like it is taking us a while to catch up to other countries who have already begun to embrace more of the complexities of gender identity. (You know, a full understanding of what it means to be human on this earth.)  But as this has been ingrained in their culture for generations it seems like a game f double dutch and we don’t quite have the pace to jump in. When something is established as a norm it can be easier to fully embrace that reality from the beginning. Sadly, there is still a lot of stigma and lack of safety when it comes to how people choose to present themselves in our country.  One thing I know for sure is that every person in the LGBTQIA* community holds great courage. They are the educators, examples, and trailblazers to bring our country up to speed (and maybe even successfully jump into the double dutch game.) But let’s also be clear, this work is not to be done on their backs. Us allies must simultaneously do our work to learn, grow in own knowledge and support.


Not on their Backs

In order for me, a cisgender female to be a better ally and support movements such as adding a third option of gender I have to do my homework. It is a lot to wrap your brain around a different way of thinking, especially when you have been socialized to think in black and white (or boy and girl). With all the different terms, identities, layers of expression and identification of self there can be confusion. Luckily Netflix (and Katie Couric) have come to the rescue.

There is a documentary available on Netflix called Gender Revolution. In this documentary, Katie Couric travels across the states and meets with people and families who are living out the gender revolution. She embarks on this journey also with an open (abet ignorant) understanding of the terminology and ways to identify. And I love it.  She portrays the real fear and braveness it takes to learn and try and journey to being a supporter of inclusivity to all.

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We’re In This Together

At the heart of wellness is striving to step into living as your true self. We do this by beginning able to step into our fullest expression of who we are while supporting and feeling supported. We know this is not easy, which is why Wellvyl strives to provide encouragement for a healthy body, mind, soul, and social experience. This world is hard enough and we have to actively strive to make it easier for all of us to show up. Our city has been labeled as a place for dreams and doers to strive. So as you are doing your hustle and surviving in this city know there is a connection, we see you and we will always strive to provide space and voice for all.