NOTICE: The views expressed in The Vermilion's opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Vermilion staff or of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

When parents become pregnant, most rush to learn their soon-to-be child’s gender. Some hope for little boys, some hope for little girls and others just want their child to be born healthy. It isn’t wrong to want to have a little boy, nor is it wrong to desire a little girl.

Yet, society royally screws up when people are forced to be one or the other. I grew up understanding and believing that I am, in fact, a female. I fit all the definitions of female biologically mentally, and emotionally. My gender identity, the gender I believe myself to be based off of my own deepest feelings about who I am within, does align with that of a female.

Right-wing Conservatives (or most) would call that normal.

Meanwhile, friends of mine who identify as transgender are told their gender identity is wrong and unnatural because it doesn’t align with the beliefs of the surrounding world.

Our gender identity is something we define for ourselves; our gender identity is a reflection of how we feel inside.

What people fail to realize is that there are more than just the two genders American society recognizes. In places like Indonesia, Nepal, and even Siberia, a third gender (typically transgender or intersex people) are recognized as legitimate.

People should be encouraged to live however they feel most comfortable and proud. Just because someone looks like a male does not mean that they are. Our world is so quick to assume things about other people based on closed-mindedness and convenience to their own beliefs.

We should be striving to push our boundaries by loving others as they say they are, not as we wish they would be. This idea holds strong in regards to sexual orientation also — sexual orientation meaning the gender(s) to which someone is romantically or sexually attracted.

It’s easy to call me disgusting for being a lesbian. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about my life and the way I was raised. It’s easy for someone on the outside of my experiences to say I’ll never prosper in life because I’m not heterosexual.

But it’s also easy for someone to say, “Wow, this girl, who may not be like me, is capable of loving a human being so deeply, even though they are the same gender.”

In my most recent job, I’m working hands on with a meditation instructor to share her positive findings. One of the greatest lessons she has taught me is this: We cannot choose how the people around us act, how they love, how they speak, what they speak of, who they hurt or who they love.

The only thing we’re able to control in our lives is how we respond to those people and these experiences.

It’s ironic that so many people often resort to hate because of discomfort from things that don’t align with their beliefs. Almost every religion imparts that compassion, acceptance and love are the most important teachings for a fulfilled life, so why is it that people so often confuse that with justification for hate?

Our gender identity and sexual orientation are not things we or other people can control.

We are who we are with a love for who we love. And that’s OK.

For more information on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation, please visit:


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