A Sign Post ~ Abandon Gender to Discover Gender


Zander Keig is a prolific contributor to dialogue among transgender communities. His co-edited book Letters for my Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect in 2011, is one of many notable accomplishments.

Zander's Tao of Transition blog from 2007 has been set aside for the time being, but even incomplete, it offers many insights. This blog entry is reprinted with permission.


Much of what I know about gender originates from inherited assumptions and borrowed notions. In an effort to discover my authentic gender, I have decided to abandon these notions and assumptions. This has proven to be an illuminating process of compassionate investigation.

One thing I discovered immediately was that these inherited assumptions and borrowed notions illustrate the power of interconnection. Gender does not exist in isolation, but lives in interconnectedness and interdependence. We see, learn and acquire assumptions and notions of gender through our connections to family, community, peers, colleagues, media and elsewhere.

My experience of gender, as I have been transitioning, is that it cannot be explained using words. Since I devote a lot of my time to speaking on panels, facilitating groups, leading workshops and providing consultation to organizations, congregations and families this has been a challenge for many of those I have encountered. They are seeking easy answers to what, for me, has not come easy - actualizing my authentic self.

How I tend to communicate who I am and what I have done often comes in the form of asking questions and offering advice to myself in an effort to gain a better understanding of my experience and be able to better communicate about it to others.

Some of the questions I ask and advice I give myself regularly are:

  • Do not be troubled with such things as "correct gender".

  • Allow an authentic gender to unfold, do not control it.

  • Remember that all transitions, nothing endures and everything continues.

  • What is gender?

  • Where is gender located?

  • Is gender innate and fixed?

  • Does everyone have (a) gender?

I do not attempt to solve these questions or feel compelled to take my own advice seriously. I am merely searching for meaning in life as it relates to my gender, because I have been told by trans and non-trans people that what this all means is that I have a disorder, gender identity disorder (GID). GID is classified as a mental illness and I do not accept that living into my authenticity is a mental illness. I think it would be mentally ill of me to not embrace wholeheartedly my journey toward actualizing my full potential. And GID, I think society has GID! Society wants to limit the potential of those who are gifted with the desire to cultivate their true self.

I have also been told by trans and non-trans people that because I am a man now, I must "act like a man". I am not sure I know what that means. No more so than I understood what people were telling me when they told me to "act like a woman". Both are nonsensical assertions, in my opinion.

Here are some things I realized about myself through this process:

  • For 39 years I was perceived to be female and therefore a woman, yet I realized that I never felt like a woman or understood what it meant to be a woman.

  • For the past 2 years, I have been perceived to be male and therefore a man, yet I do not know what it means to feel like a man or understand what it means to be a man.

  • As a female I was perceived as too masculine, therefore a lesbian.

  • As a male I am perceived as too feminine, therefore a gay man.

For now I am content to relate to my gender as it unfolds in an unplanned way without embellishment or agenda. I am open to hearing the intuitive messages and paying attention to what resonates from within without coaxing. For now my gender is fluid and follows the watercourse way and I am floating along gently and calmly.

I meditate on this: Notice the difference between a desire to feel grounded in gender & feeling grounded with gender.

My gender expression and identity cannot be actualized through hurriedness and forcefulness.