Beyond Roles, Beyond Gender—Who Are You?

Photograph © 2016 Peggy Kornegger Gabriel Dawe, Plexus A1
Photograph © 2016 Peggy Kornegger
Gabriel Dawe, Plexus A1
We are alive at an amazing time on this planet. In spite of efforts by those desperately trying to patch them up, there are widening cracks in the old paradigms, and everything is shifting. Culturally constructed identities are dissolving, and infinite possibilities are opening up. Within the last few decades, movements for social change have shifted our very assumptions about what it means to be human. We have become aware of gender stereotypes and behavioral polarities that ultimately do not benefit anyone. Relationships between men and women have changed as men embrace their vulnerability and women embrace their strength. Narrow, constrictive definitions of gender roles and of gender itself have been called into question, and consequently we are all evolving into more expansive, more authentic whole human beings.

I grew up in the Midwest in the 1950s and 1960s, a “girl” as it was socially defined then. Yet, there have always been ways in which I did not exactly fit the mold of acceptability. I wore dresses and played with dolls, but I also wore jeans and climbed trees. I had crushes on boys, but girls were my best friends. In college in California, I embraced a flower-child/activist identity, wearing beads, bell-bottoms, and long Indian-print dresses as I took part in peace marches and student sit-ins. Once again, my love relationships were with men, but my closest friends were women. In my mid-20s, I became active in the feminist movement in the Boston area and eventually came out as a lesbian. I cut off my long “hippy” braids and wore colorful T-shirts, jeans, and artsy earrings. As a lesbian, I consciously chose relationships that were not defined by gender roles but by equality, balance, and celebration of each other’s uniqueness.

Today, I have been with my partner Anne for 34 years, married for the last 2. She and I have been able to share our lives and work through individual differences (and “imperfections”!) without the constraints of role expectations. Together we’ve seen the evolution of the LGBTQ community and the greater world around us over time. The wisdom and truth of “Love is love” has gradually entered the collective consciousness, and that has changed all of our lives. None of us are the same as we once were. Yes, homophobia, transphobia, and violence against those considered “different” still exists, but there has also been a shift to more acceptance of difference, of diversity. Minds are opening because of heart connections, because of a deeper recognition that we are all family on this planet. New possibilities for individual expression and equal relationships now exist for all people because of those who continue to shatter the old paradigm, just by being themselves.

To me, those individuals who consider themselves gender-fluid, gender-nonconforming, or non-binary are on the cutting edge of human evolution now. They stretch me the most in my own perceptions. By refusing to accept labels that perpetuate polarity (male, female), they inspire us all to ask: “Who am I beyond roles, beyond gender?” Indeed, who am I, as a human being, as a human soul? Really, the simple sacred truth “I Am” is the most accurate description of each of us on a soul level. The soul is infinite, eternal. Our human identities are temporary and not boxes that we have to fit into. The LGBTQ community has opened the door to life outside the boxes. We as human/divine beings are unboxable, indefinable, and infinitely expansive. And that is exactly why we all incarnated at this time: to embody limitless luminous rainbow consciousness as a species, as a planet. The entire global community of human souls is part of this extraordinary evolution of light within light. Every single shining one of us.

“I am not the color of my eyes.
I am not the skin on the outside…
I am not my age
I am not my race
My soul inside is all light…
I am light.”
—India.Arie

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