Gender Diversity Love

Gender Diversity LoveMini-Love-Lesson  #194
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Synopsis: How a lot of people are a wide variety of something other than strictly male or female; the big problems that diversity presents; what that can have to do with several kinds of love and how those kinds of love can help are presented in this mini-love-lesson.

Whose What And What Difference Does It Make?

Transgender, transsexual, intersexual, gender dysphoric, omni-sexual, bisexual, homosexual, androgyny and other not strictly or primarily straight female or straight male gender variations have been scientifically identified as existing in the human race.  Both psychology and biology offer confirmation of these different gender diversity states being part of natural reality.  Neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neuropsychology and other brain sciences in particular yield evidence that gender is much more in the brain as well as much more diverse than previously thought.

What is not very different in all gender variations including heterosexuality is the natural need for love, the ways of giving love and the many beneficial effects of being healthfully well loved.  There are some larger differences in the area of love problems but even in that area there is not as much difference as you might at first think.

But for the gender diverse there are extra confounding complications, conflicts, confusions, stressors as well as some very puzzling romantic and heart-mate dilemmas.  Also there can be some hard to cope with biological concerns.

Perhaps worst of all for many are the very dangerous social and religious value clashes that occur in many cultures and subcultures around the world.  For all too long and for far too many, being gender different has been deadly.  To this day in many parts of the world having certain types of gender diversity can get you physically assaulted, jailed and even killed.

Especially dangerous has been the area of who you love and who loves you.  Romantic and spousal love, family love, friendship love, parent-child love, spiritual love and healthy self-love all have been fraught with stressors and serious problems for those whose gender is other than standard heterosexual.  Children, youth and young adults having gender diversity issues have suffered especially.  Embarrassment, shaming, bullying and religious guilt-tripping push many to suicide.  In pockets of the world, it is getting better but certainly not everywhere.

We suggest all this means the people of gender diversity can use extra acceptance, extra understanding and extra love.  So, let’s look at three very important, different kinds of love and what they can mean for the gender diverse.

Healthy, Real Self-Love

Healthy, real self-love is so often extremely important, hugely needed and so very often hard to come by for the people of prevalent and strong gender variation.  The problem is worse wherever there are prevailing anti-gender variation biases, fears, social norms, teachings and laws.  As perhaps you know, some societies, religious groups and families are much more loving and positive toward the gender variant.  Others are very condemning, anti-loving, rejecting, hateful and even murderous.

The gender diverse are so often confronted with overt and covert hate, rejection, exclusion and severe social disapproval.  Sometimes even worse is this.  Whether it is in a family or a whole culture, there frequently is a prevalent teaching something like “you should hate yourself for being anything but straight male or straight female”.  When that teaching becomes an internalized mindset in an individual, the results can be devastatingly self-destructive.

Doing the hard work of finding and growing enough healthy self-love to survive all that can be the best defense.  That is because healthy self-love is something you can carry with you and always have available.  Without sufficient self-love and its strengthen effects, it is very hard to stay okay when hearing “you’re wrong, you’re sinful, you’re sick, you’re not right, etc. for being the way you are”.  Whether you hear that sort of message internally, externally or both it is destructive.  Depression, anxiety, self rejection, lonely isolation, escape into addiction, breakdowns and suicide all may result.  The good news is all that can be prevented, blocked and reversed with enough healthy self-love.  The bad news is self-love is taught against just as much as gender diversity is taught against and often by the same people.

Gender diverse youth especially are vulnerable to becoming victims of diversity negation coming from culture, society, family, religion, governments and elsewhere.  As gender identity and preference begins to emerge, insecurity and hormonal based confusions tend to mount.  Furthermore, the development of strong, healthy self-love frequently is quite tentative at best among the young.

If you are not strictly heterosexual, go to work on your self-love.  Learn, know and own the fact that you have a lot to offer and certainly are at least just as worthy as any other human being.  Then find out how your variance from standard is a blessing if you use it smartly, bravely and productively.  Most of all, learn and own the following: The core, real you is lovable just the way you are.  Also own that you have healthy, real love to give and that, all by itself, makes you of high value.

If you care about and/or love someone struggling with gender diversity issues, love them by assisting them toward healthy, real self-love.  See this site’s Subject Index concerning healthy self-love for more mini-love-lessons on how to do just that.

Family Love

Those families that offer accepting and affirming love to a gender diverse family member tend to have and keep better cohesiveness, be more resilient and generally function more healthfully and happily.  Those families who try to force or manipulate a family member into a conformist, gender role that the person is not comfortable with, tend to experience severe family disruption and family dysfunction.  Families that reject, shame, personally attack, expel, condemn, guilt trip and are judgmental against someone showing A gender diversity can and are so often ripped apart by these anti-love ways of behaving.

On the other hand, if family members have ongoing clashes about gender issues but they handle disagreements with loving tolerance and democratic acceptance of each other, they can be quite functional and successful.  Likewise, families wounded by gender issue disputes can be healed by activated family love, whether or not they come to agreement on the disputed issues.  Love focused family therapy can be wonderful for this healing process.

Best of all are the loving families that accept, expect and encourage their individual members to develop themselves in whatever way they want to, so long as it is sufficiently healthy.  Love is not dependent on conformity in such families but rather is given freely for whatever variations come about.  Then those variations become enrichments to the family bonded together by family love rather than restricted by compliance.

Friendship Love

Friendship love has been known to save the lives of those suffering conflicts concerning gender.  Friendship love also is known to greatly help lives to be lived well in spite of discrimination, misunderstanding, prejudice, bias, fact free opinions and the other negatives that commonly beset those who are a bit different in gender.  Friendship love also has been known to counterbalance the anti-love effects of hateful, abusive and indifferent families when they cease giving nurturing love to a family member of a diverse gender orientation.

Friendship love is so often a vital element in the development of healthy self-love among the more isolated individual struggling with gender issues.

A big problem arises when a person of gender variation fears peer rejection and, therefore, hides their gender differences, pretending to be someone they are not in regard to gender preference.  They tend not to do the required self-disclosure needed for the development of deep, real, friendship love.  If they do reveal their gender truth about themselves and they receive loving acceptance from a friend or friends, they then may blossom and their social whole world can change for the better.

If they meet with rejection it can be very dangerous unless they have sufficient self-love or other loving friends.  I do understand the fear and self-protectiveness and I suggest careful patience when deciding who might be a worthy friend to share your true self with.  Observe over time who appears open to differences and start with small revelations to test the water before jumping in the deep end.

Those who publicly show openness and acceptance to all gender variations do a great love-positive service.  They give to those struggling to figure out who and what they are gender-wise and to the self rejecting, the chance to know acceptance, inclusion and real friendship is possible for them.  From such demonstrations of open-heartedness, great and enduring friendships have been known to result.

In the next mini-love-lesson, “Gender Diversity – Romantic, Heart-mate Love” we will cover romantic and mated love issues among those of gender diversity.

Help spread love knowledge – tell some people about this site.

As always Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: How much do your ideas and feelings about gender influence who and how you love?

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