The children in my house have obtained some sort of right to the musical instruments in my basement. At any time of day (usually in the ungodly hours of Saturday mornings) there will be the very loud and off beat banging of a drum set and meddled piano notes being played as if no one can hear it. I suppose noise is one of the best ways any eight and five year old (or any human really) can express themselves. As people we have to be able to outwardly show how we feel, whether it’s good or bad.
Imagine, if you will, a world where everyone was the same person. There is no music, no taste, nothing that could be liked or disliked. The world is mundane. We all wear the same clothes, same hair, same everything. You have no emotions. The world seems kind of grey and depressing. That is a world without expression. Fortunately, we live in a world full of life, culture, emotion, and freedom. Especially as Americans, we have the right to express ourselves in most ways, i.e. Freedom of Speech.
We express ourselves because we need to survive. Obviously playing a musical instrument isn’t vital to life, but it’s an emotional response to having an emotion and being able to harness it by doodling on a page. If we don’t have outlets to express ourselves in healthy ways, we find others ways that aren’t good for us.
We can express ourselves in many ways. Most times, we express ourselves with things we like to do. I express myself by singing, playing my instruments, and reading, writing, and reciting poetry. How do you express yourself?
CHRISTINE JORGENSEN: THE FIRST TRANSGENDER WOMAN IN THE UNITED STATES
Imagine waking up tomorrow and feeling wrong. You look in the mirror and see that everything is wrong. You can’t seem to find anything right about yourself. Surrounded by peers with the same gender as you, you can see where you don’t fit in with their norm. This is just about how most transgender people feel before complete transition. Christine Jorgensen writes that she felt “lost between the sexes.” Christine completely changed the world when she came out as the “first” transgender woman recognized by the United States.
Christine Jorgensen was first born as George William Jorgensen in 1926. She grew up in the Bronx, New York. At an early age she began to feel like a woman stuck in a man’s body. She wrote once that she hated boy’s clothing and wondered why her clothes were so different from her older sister’s clothes. This feeling is called Gender Dysphoria. The American Psychiatric Association defines Gender Dysphoria as “... a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.”
In a reflection on her teen life, Christine said that she felt like she was “lost between the sexes.” She was jealous of girls rather than being into having a relationship with one. To distract herself for feelings she thought were wrong, she began to have a deep interest in photography. Her father was an amateur photographer; together the two set up a dark room in their home and thus created a love and passion for photography. Christine also went to the New York Institute of Photography for a couple years.
However, this dream was cut short when she was drafted into the military in 1945. Christine worked as a clerk at Fort Dix in New Jersey. Then she was discharged a year later after the war had ended. Upon being discharged, Christine decided it was time to come out as a woman.
Christine traveled to Denmark in 1950. At the time, Gender Reassignment Surgery and Hormone Replacement Therapy were only available in Europe, and the technology used back then is not as proficient or as advanced as it is now. While recovering in the Copenhagen hospital, she was making big news in the United States. Newspaper’s had articles titled “Bronx ‘boy’ is now a girl.” Nobody in the United States at this time had really heard of someone being transgender before. Up until recently it has been considered morally wrong to be transgender (and in some places, it still is.) When people do not understand something, their immediate reaction is to be unaccepting of it. This, and a bit of curiosity, was the reaction of the people in the US.
When Christine returned home from Copenhagen, she was crowded by reporters at an airport in New York. They all wanted to ask her questions that the people had. Not really understanding that they were being invasive and offensive, the press was confused when she turned them away. “I thank you all for coming, but I think it’s too much,” she said. Eventually, when she had become more comfortable with who she was, Christine told her story to American Weekly magazine. Later, she began performing in a nightclub. Her favorite song to sing was, “I Enjoy Being A Girl.”
Christine Jorgensen is an inspiration and an icon for LGBTQ+ (especially transgender) peoples everywhere. Her life’s story has paved the way for the transgender civil rights that we have and continue to fight for today.
Psychiatry.org. (2018). What Is Gender Dysphoria?. [online] Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gender-dysphoria/what-is-gender-dysphoria [Accessed 24 Oct. 2018].
Biography. (2018). Christine Jorgensen. [online] Available at: https://www.biography.com/people/christine-jorgensen-262758 [Accessed 24 Oct. 2018].