Portraits is a storytelling platform that provides an in-depth look at the lives of our members. And this month, Darin Earl II and Dominic Bradley sat down to discuss their gender identity.
Dominic kicked off the conversation by first asking about becoming aware of gender identity. Gender identity is where you see yourself on the continuum of gender: agender, cisgender, gender fluid, genderqueer, transgender, etc.. This is tied to an awareness that not all people feel that they are the gender that matches their birth sex, challenging a heteronormative society that struggles to see beyond binary gender identity.
Darin answered by speaking of a friend that helped him realize that the scope of gender included more than the apparent heteronormativity that he experienced in primary schooling. Dominic, on the other hand, talks about receiving messages from their family related to gender norms. They particularly recalled a moment when they rejected their father’s insistence on gender norms, proclaiming that, “Laundry is not women’s work. It’s everybody’s work!”
So, when Darin asked what Dominic wished to see more of in the community, it was not surprising to hear Dominic say,
I think too many of us in the community tend to think about gender and sexuality in a pretty static way. Gaining clarity on who you are and what you want can be painful. So, I think the temptation…is to say ‘I did this once, and I’m not going to do it again…’ which prevents you from being flexible enough to respond to new stimuli, new information. I would encourage [people] to think about this as a life-course issue.
To which Darin responded,
It’s unfair for any one individual person to be like, ‘This is me. This is me for the rest of my life, and I’m not going to budge on this whatsoever,’ because you’re going to deprive yourself of like, so many life experiences.
Darin and Dominic left us with a challenge: let’s find a formalized way, a curriculum, to help people explore gender.
Watch Darin and Dominic’s full episode of Portraits below.