I wish I could talk to Janet Mock. I think she has so much to teach me. I’ve watched her exchanges with Piers Morgan and her appearance last night on The Colbert Report. I love how she talks; she is so smart and understands a world that I’m trying so hard to understand. I think that Piers Morgan was trying to understand it too. I think he wanted to do and say the right thing, but he made some mistakes. That same sentence can be said about me in my life with E.
Janet Mock has taken on a huge job. She is trying to teach us all about gender – what an open, flowing river it is. Most of the world understands gender to be rigid. A two-part box. We get put in our side of that box the second – and I mean the second – we are born. If you click on the “about” button at the top of my website, it takes you to this: “On the day my second child was born, we heard the words ‘It’s a girl…’ That’s where all the confusion began.” I know it’s kind of a funny thing to say and in my house, we need to laugh about those sorts of things. But really, I’m not kidding about that. We were told something so primal, so basic about our child and we believed it. We had physical evidence that what we were told was true. As it turns out, it may not be true. I wish I were a wordsmith as skilled as Janet Mock to tell you how much that situation can rock a world.
We live in a small suburban town. People are well educated, interesting and interested. We are not a very diverse community, nor are we all the same. There are strong political views along the entire spectrum. It is a town that prides itself on its neighborhood attitude. We take care of each other. We look out.
On the day we moved here from Queens NY, the rain matched my mood. I was afraid of small town life. I was used to the melting pot of NYC, the pace, the anonymity. I loved that people could walk down the street dressed as the Statue of Liberty or walking a goat and they would hardly get a second look. I was afraid of living in the typical. I preferred being on the edge of regular.
I tell you this to give you an idea of the kaleidoscope world we are in: the town that E lives in and the home that she walks into at the end of her school day. We have our toes in a lot of pools. Her world is many things. A tree lined suburban town. A liberal, religion-free home. She has an older brother who is an excellent student and athlete. A mom and dad who met at a downtown NYC club and who wonder all the time about how we balance all the frequencies of our lives.
So when I experience the collision of the two worlds of Janet Mock and Piers Morgan, I get it. While I don’t pretend to fully understand either, I want to talk to Janet about Piers and Piers about Janet. I want her to know he’s trying, making blunders along the way, but trying. I want him to know that she is the one living in her skin so she can be nothing but right about it and we are all her students. When she spoke to Stephen Colbert – a conversation that was so brilliant and funny – Janet spoke of one world. A world where we don’t label our children at birth, where we don’t make assumptions about gender, where we let people call themselves. I look around me and we seem so far from that world. But what a beautiful end of the rainbow brick road THAT would be.