The Gender Unicorn

I struggle with the new language of gender.

How can one person be a “They.” It don’t square.

I’m an English major. Grammar is God.

But as I make my glued-together argument to preserve the language of my grandfather…

Half the world’s population is gently, severely, and violently repressed. Thick, clumsy hands concoct a Black Death in the kitchen.

Throats choke. Lives suffocate.

Relationships are not thriving. Divorce is just one more phase of love. Marriages wilt. Men hide in basements and garages and behind woodpiles. And women hide in plain sight.

Men have a raping problem. And a warring problem. (Boys will be boys.)

And we kill each other too. Boys gun people down in the streets and in the schools. Over silly things like shoes and revenge and not acknowledging their feelings.

Our teens, they’re even dying by their own hands, obsessed with hating their bodies in private. So many beautiful souls suffering from a virus with the stench of a locker room, but they still smile selfies over dinner.

We’re not doing very well.

The viruses that consume us are doing better than we are. They’ve figured out how to mutate, to side-step annihilation by changing completely.

Maybe we need to mutate.

My daughter introduced me to The Gender Unicorn the other night, an exercise in identity development she did back in middle school.

It offers 4 continuums for gender identity instead of the usual 2 checkboxes.

I had to smile as I quantified my femininity. It felt good to be a man and be invited to be other things as well.

We had a good conversation. She was in her element.

When I look at her generation, I see girls cutting their hair, I see boys holding out on saying what they are and who they like. No one clings to anything. There is no full stop in their words and understanding; they never use capital letters or periods. Everything just runs together.

Maybe it’s our rules — both beloved and arbitrary, like fences — that are killing us.

Rules to protect are rules that restrict.