Today, the counselor came to class to sign-up students for college prep day. It seems like she is always having students pencil in forms.
While walking them quickly through what should have been an easy task, a student interrupted her with a question.
"What do I put for gender identity?"
The traditional options were male and female.
If the counselor stumbled, it was hardly perceptible. "Put down what is on your birth certificate."
I paid attention because I'd never heard the question asked before. I knew the student struggled with gender identity; the student isn't the first one I've had with this question.
I love this student. The student has suffered with depression and has contemplated suicide. The suffering for someone so young and tender feels like a granite rock is tied onto my heart, pulling it into abysmal sadness.
My female identity is inherent to who I am. I have always felt like a girl, like a woman. As a child I was a giddy around the boys. I liked Blake, and Randy, and finally Tony. As I sit in the passenger seat explaining this to my husband, I try to imagine for a moment the blurriness I might feel if I wasn't so sure.
The surety feels like a gift, not because it would be wrong to feel differently--just the gift of knowing for sure.
I already second-guess myself enough over the serious and the trivial, and shouldn't the most difficult worry in high school be whether or not one is getting asked to the prom?
And so I ache for my friends, my students, people who make a change, who take a stand, who are able to ask the question in a class full of peers, "What do I put for gender identity?" On my part, there is no room for criticism or confusion, only love and acceptance.