Views from the Bridge

Of Binders and Such

Posted on: May 7, 2012

Well, this is our first post.  Let us be introduced.

I’m Terri and I’m the 40-something mom of Colin.  I’m a chaplain in a detention center and an Associate Pastor in Seattle.  I am also a Spiritual Companion for those who need it.

Colin…introduce yourself!
Welp. Here I am, in the flesh. Or more accurately, in the font as it ‘t’wer. My name is Colin d. (if you couldn’t figure that out from my mother two sentences previous), I’m sixteen, in my Junior year of highschool, and basically all types of queer. I want to go into acting in my future.

We drive together often from our home to high school in Seattle.  We drive across the 520 bridge.  And our conversations bridge culture, age, and gender.  The drive gives us a lot of time to chat.  The wheels of the car turning seems to get our brains and mouths going also!  Since Colin declared his TG-ness last year, it has been a year of discovery and conversations.  Each day new things come up, it seems.

TG-ness? Really? TG-ness? I mean, I’m not offended at all, just AMUSED. I have honestly never hear anybody refer to it as that. But okay, if somebody doesn’t get it, I’m transgender, and identify as male.

Recently, I ordered binders for Colin via ebay.  I wasn’t sure what we’d end up with, but was interested in the financial savings!  When we got the binders, they came with two little rubber rainbow bracelets with the phrase “I’m Lesbian” on them.  That is what this conversation was about.

I’m (Terri) going to give you a synopsis of the conversation and Colin will add his comments.

In the morning on the way to school…

Colin said something like, “I can’t believe they just sent ‘I’m Lesbian’ bracelets.” 

Frankly, I was on the same page.  First, it never occurred to me that Lesbians would wear binders.  That is what I had to wrap my head around.  Colin then informed me that yes, lesbians where binders.  That many more “butch” women wore them to diminish their feminine curves. 

Huh.  I never considered that.  I just assumed that women were the way they were.  Although why I would assume that in the age where so many people alter their bodies by adding boob-age is beyond me.  If folks want to add boob-age, then there must be folks who want to diminish boob-age.

Colin then told me what he was going to do with the bracelets.  He was taking them to school to his gender seminar class and would see if anybody wanted them.

In the afternoon on the way home…

Colin told me what happened.  He offered them to the class and told them the story.  He then got 15 hugs of affirmation and apology on behalf of the stupid manufacturer that assumed he was a lesbian.  Of course, Colin really wasn’t that bothered with it, I think.

I guess I was yes, offended and bothered by it, but it’s not something that I’m hurt by. The fact is, it is actually an assumption that people make, and assumptions are a big chunk of what are world revolves on so, oh well. No harm, no foul. I will also say though. By g’d! Stop the freaking stereotypes!

Who took the bracelets?  One teen girl whose boyfriend often passes as a girl.  She would wear the “I’m Lesbian” bracelet when they were on dates.  Ha ha ha!!  And the other one went to a girl who self-defines as queer and nothing beyond that. 

So, the bracelets were distributed.  We learned a couple new things about binders and who wore them and what assumptions manufacturers make.  And we got a great laugh.  And it was sunny crossing the bridge.

All in all, a great day crossing the bridge.

And I would say, I agree. 😀

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7 Responses to "Of Binders and Such"

I’m so glad you two started this blog! You are making the world a better place by sharing your stories. So I have to confess… when I read “binder,” I thought of binders like you use in school to put paper in. I was confused as to why it would be weird to order them on eBay, or why “I am Lesbian” bracelets would show up attached to school binders. After I began to suspect that you are not talking about the same type of binders, a quick internet search made for a thorough education. LOL!!! And now I know something new. Thanks for sharing, Terri and Colin!

You two are so wonderful in the way that you openly discuss these sensitive issues. I think it is great that you have this ability to communicate and that you are willing to share it with others. Thanks for your commitment to learning and teaching.

Stereotypes are always wrong, aren’t they. No one really fits into the box someone else makes for them. I love the conversation you two are having and I love it that you are your own person Colin, don’t let anyone ever put you in a box you don’t want to enter. Peace to you both

Ruth

Wonderful to see that beautiful connections were made through this experience!

Very cool way to share your experiences as a family. Thanks for this blog.

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