Girls and Legos Go Together Like Chocolate In A Cookie

I only got one cookie today. What a bummer. They’re all gone now. If I was depressed, that would probably be a reason for me to crawl back into bed and sleep for another day.

Have you all heard about the transgender woman who committed suicide by stepping in front of traffic? It was on Wednesday, but this is the first I’m hearing about it. These are the words she wanted people to share after she died:

“These are going to be my final words. I can’t stand to live another day, so I’m committing suicide. The reason why I’ve decided to do this is because I’m transgender. For those of you that unsure of what that means, it means that even though I was born in a male body, I am and have always been female. I’ve known I was female for as far back as I can remember. This caused me to become severely depressed from a very young age. From a very young age I was told that people like me are freaks and abominations, that we are sick in the head and society hates us. This made me hate who I was. I tried so hard to be just like everyone else but this isn’t something you can change.

It wasn’t until I was 20 that I found out I wasn’t alone. I had hope that I would finally be able to live as and love who I am. I finally came out as transgender and began transitioning. For the first time in my life I could say I was genuinely happy. Despite this huge change in my life I never completely got over the depression being trans caused me. Everywhere I’d turn I’d see the hated that society had for us. I had already been poisoned by a society that didn’t understand us and, even worse, didn’t want to even try. I saw the pain it caused to people like me and going though this same hurt myself it has just become to much for me to take anymore. I wanted so much to help those going though what I had to because nobody should ever have to feel that they hate their life so much that they want to end it all just so they won’t have to experience another moment of this sadness. I’m not the first to feel this way and sadly I know I won’t be the last.

I’m writing all of this because I’ve need my story to be shared. I don’t want to be just another number of a tragic statistic. People need to know that I’m not just another face of someone they never met. I was alive. I have a family and friends that I love very much and I’m so sorry to them for the hurt this will cause them. I loved being around those that I love. I loved listening to music and singing. I loved going out to eat with friends and enjoying good food. I was a real person. I still want to help people and I believe I still can. Please share my final words. I believe my last words can help make the change that society needs to make so that one day there will be no others like me. Please help make this change because trans people are everywhere. You may never know who you’re hurting until it’s too late. Please help fix society.”

Ashley Hallstrom

When I was a teenager, I had a few friends who were gay. They were mostly male but they were funny and smart and a joy to be around, despite the obvious pain from being discriminated against. I didn’t know what transgender was and honestly when I learned what it was I just didn’t understand. It wasn’t a matter of disliking people who were transgender, it was a matter of confusion. Why would someone who was born this gender want to be this gender? I spent days as a child wishing I was a boy so it would be alright for me to roll around in the mud at school or play sports at school or hit people at school (I’m crazy, remember?) but I never yearned to be a boy; I didn’t ever feel like I was in the wrong body. I didn’t know how you could  feel like you were in the wrong body.

Like I’ve said, I’m a very logical person so I saw it as a logical issue within myself. I saw transgender people, I saw what they wanted, and I couldn’t connect the dots. It wasn’t until I took a biopsychology class that I finally got a glimpse of what these people deal with.

Now, I’m not one for saying everything about the body is purely biological, but once I learned about the delicate process of hormones, of development, and how gender is really pretty coincidental and wishy-washy, I became an advocate for these people 110%. In the womb, your brain can develop with “male” traits, male hormones and such, but your body, an almost separate process, can develop with female hormones, female parts, female everything else. Of course these things are still being studied, I believe, but the evidence is pretty obvious.

Yes, male brains are a little different from female brains, but they pretty much work the same. The only difference is the hormones and that’s what makes the difference for these people (if you choose to look at it on a biological stance). When I got into sociology I became an even larger advocate after learning 1 in 100 babies are born with both female and male parts. I learned gender is a spectrum. It’s not black and white, as much as traditional southern families would want it to be. There are very rarely 100% “Straight” people.

There’s a man at my college who straightens his hair, wears tight leather skirts, flats, and tank tops and really the only way I could tell he wasn’t “born female” was the fact that his calves were pretty “maleish”. Plus he’s about six foot three.

But why do we make these assumptions? I found my eyes looking for evidence that she was in fact a biological male instead of a biological female. But why did I feel the need to do that? Why have we as a society developed traits we feel should be considered masculine and traits we feel should be considered feminine? Who gives a shit is my real question. Why is pink for girls and blue for boys? Sociologist talk a lot about all the things we’ve constructed as a society (like gender), which are obvious and important to look at, but what are we going to do about it? Deal with it? Fuck that. We created it, we can un-create it.

It’s not a matter of hating these people, it’s a matter of not understanding why they feel the way they do. Honestly, we shouldn’t have to understand why they feel the way they do, we need to just accept that they do. That they’re human and it doesn’t really matter. But that’s not going to happen in this world, so it’s better to just help people understand.

When I was a kid I tussled around in the mud all the time at home. I had a collection of hot wheels. Some people gave me barbies. I hated barbies. My parents had to tell people that I didn’t like dolls so they’d stop buying them. I had some dolls and I had some stuffed animals. I had the barbie airplane because I wanted the plane. I had the barbie car because I wanted the car and I wanted them both in blue because I hated pink. I fucking hated it. Honestly, I hated it because everyone said I was supposed to like it. I was defying society before I even knew what society or defying meant.

My previous sociology professor is a lesbian and she has two girls. She let them pick the toys they want, the colors they want, and tries not to force anything upon them. One girl loves pink and dolls and pretty things, one doesn’t. It’s a matter of personal preference.

They also don’t watch Disney in their house. Disney is . . . ug, don’t even get me started.

Lego put a message in their toys in the seventies about how girls playing with legos is just as important as boys playing with legos as it helps develop problem solving skills and math related things. There’s a reason why so many men go into engineering and so many women don’t. We’re doing this to our children.

Teachers are more inclined to comment on a girl’s appearance (oh, you look so pretty today!) and on a boy’s performance (good job on that test!). Because of influences like that, studies have shown somewhere around the age nine and ten, girl’s academic skills drop off where as boy’s skills continue to rise. We’re doing this to our children. Girls are more likely to do worse on a math test if the math test or professor says “this will test your true math skills” or something equivalent. How many people know the saying “girls aren’t good at math?” It’s what I was told. We’re doing this to our children.

This isn’t some attack on men or society, this is just fact. This is what our strict bullshit rules on “gender” have done to our society. It’s a good way to keep women in a non-threatening positions and it’s a good way to keep society on a “straight” and narrow path.

It’s a good way to make people like Ashley Hallstrom of Logan, Utah feel the need to end her life.

Congratulations, society: