This is an exploration of the concept of gender, through narrative. We follow the story of an imaginary and naive character, and we learn from his own sensations and ways of seeing the world, how he interacts with it and lives in it. He might additionally meet other people in his journey, some who will share a completely different story to his. The aim of this section of Olskins Magazine is to analyze and deconstruct the gender binary and reflect on the stories that we’ve been told since we were kids of what gender should be, taking into account that this will vary and change depending on the culture and place of birth of each individual. “Gender bedtime stories” tries to bring a little peace of mind through feel-good storytelling, taking us to an imaginary world in which we are all not so different.
Ian had just woken up after having had the strangest dream, but it was also one that made him feel at home, at ease, happy. He stayed in bed for a bit, just thinking. You’d assume he was thinking about something highly profound, but he was actually wondering “man, I’m really craving some apple juice”. Before that, though, he recalled a sweet feeling that coursed through his entire body: in the dream, he was standing on top of a mountain hill and felt extremely light, free, calm. He put a hand to his chest whilst taking a deep breath in, only to find a flat surface (that certainly wasn’t flat before). Shocked, he kept his hand there, wondering what to do. He spent some time caressing the zone, feeling the touch of the palm of his hand against this newly discovered surface, understanding these new sensations. “Well, holy shit!” he thought. There was little more he could say - he was ecstatic, amazed, giddy! He just stood there for a while. Breathing. Then he wondered, “what’s with this beautiful setting?” It was certainly very fitting for what he was feeling at the moment - a gigantic expanse of greenery sat before him, fields that went as far as his eye could catch. His body had always been his, but in that exact moment, it felt closer than ever, more his than it ever was.
As he stopped reminiscing about the dream, he said to himself “Well, this must be a sign. It must mean I’m doing something right.” Although he didn’t really know what it meant to do things right. He wondered about the meaning of being “good”. A “good” son? A “Good” partner? A “good” boy? A “good” person, sibling, listener, teacher… a “good” trans? He realized that he was probably referring to being a good trans. But what did it even mean to be a good trans? To get a medical intervention? To remove or get facial hair? To change his name? To survive past a certain threshold of an age? To get a brand new wardrobe?
What did it mean?
Of course, he knew better. He wasn’t fool enough to believe those who said there’s a trans bible to follow to then be the ultimate trans and get your trans certificate that certifies you’re a true trans. “I mean, it would be quite cool to get a trans bible”, he wondered, “but if we got one, it’d be much better for it to talk about how it feels to be trans - how excruciating it gets to be, and yet how freeing it is from the expectations that you’re forced to carry about your own self. How trans people represent possibility and change, I guess.” He thought about how the true trans bible should definitely include all sorts of trans experiences, from everyone around the world. But how could the true trans bible represent all of the trans people in the world? In the end, everyone is their own person with their own circumstances. “I guess transness is what you make it for yourself. Maybe a haircut is massive for you, same as a surgery is for someone else.” “Maybe that’s what makes us who we are, the fact that we follow our truth and we make it as real as we can. Maybe that’s enough. That’s good. Therefore we all are good trans.”
The feeling of being at home was a strange sensation for Ian, it had always been an unclear feeling and it always carried different meanings - but then and there, for a moment, he did feel at home. He felt at ease, he felt good.