Queer is the New Cool

June 26th, 2014

What is it like when gender becomes so obscure and individualized that it seems to no longer matter as much as it did before…while still being an important part of someone’s identity and experience? Attend a conference for Trans*/GNC (Gender Non-conforming) folk and their allies and you’ll see for yourself, as I recently did, and you’ll realize how radically different, and accepting, the world can be.

Mid-July, I attended the Philadelphia-Trans Health Conference and felt like I entered a new universe – one where expression was appreciated, even when it went against the dominant culture’s norms. And one where consideration for others was paramount.

People dressed in all kinds of ways – from conservative, traditionally “male” clothing, to punk-inspired “women’s” clothing – often independent from one’s anatomy and what biological sex dictates for most people.  No matter how you looked, or expressed your gender, it seemed to me that you had a place at the conference. Families with young children attended – some of their children trans, others cis. Therapist, doctors, students, the unemployed, and folks of all races and ethinicities were present.

There were no longer “Mens” or “Womens” bathrooms.  All were gender neutral.

Our name tags had a spot for us to write in our preferred pronouns.

In crowded meetings, announcements were made to make room for people in wheelchairs – making room at the table for all.

I heard one conversation in which someone talked about a friend’s “educational privilege”!

Therapists discussed whether we should tell our clients about how we identify our gender.

All things I rarely experience in one place…at one time.

And what did I take from this? Here we are – queer folk – some of them the most marginalized in the nation – making room for each other. Celebrating experiences. Giving comfort and understanding. Even me – a cisgendered, white male – had a place in this world. And therefore, I came to the conclusion that Queer is, indeed, the new Cool.

If you’re looking for a therapist or counselor in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, contact Mike Giordano, LICSW at 202-460-6384 or Mike.Giordano.MSW@gmail.com.

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