Just published and made available through Amazon, “Tomorrow” written by Nathan Bowker an XXY individual who identifies their gender as Non Binary, Tomorrow documents the authors lived experiences from difficult school years to an eventual diagnoses of Klinefelter’s Syndrome in their early twenties. Unlike a lot of squeaky clean accounts of living with Klinefelter’s Syndrome, Nathan’s account is not like any of those, instead we catch a glimpse of the raw realities of struggle, awareness, eventual acceptance and then a yearning for research so as to better understand the XXY vessel they reside within and to share that with you, the reader so that you might also understand yourself a little better
“My middle school years marked a time of increased difficulty. I had a difficult time in English class. There were so many rules regarding verbs and predicates. The concepts and terms were very confusing. The curriculum was geared toward brains that had reached a level to understand complex ideas, but it wasn’t inclusive to people like me. I remember an English teacher in the 7th grade asking me the same question over and over. I just started guessing which word in the sentence he was talking about and every guess was wrong. I finally told him “I don’t know,” in a frustrated tone and he threatened: “I’ll kick your ass.”
It’s possible my classroom antics helped me pass difficult subjects. If I was quiet and failing, it may have garnered more attention with the possibility of failure and to repeat a grade until I could demonstrate proficiency. The teacher who threatened me with violence in front of my class might have exhibited a different layer of sadism if I was trying to be invisible while failing. He’d probably have enjoyed shining a spotlight on my existence in having me return the next year with younger classmates, who’d understand the same lessons I felt inadequate in. However, no one wanted me longer than was necessary. They’d rather pass me on to the next grade and hope I matured someday. If not, I was someone else’s problem. Empathetically, I’ve come to see how my former teachers were doing time with my presence.
The system of a person teaching and students learning works for the vast majority of people. There will always be people like me who slip through the cracks. It’s the same comparison as labelling people either male or female at birth. To declare me a boy without any other testing seems like a negligent lie. I went to school as a male and my teachers continued the deceit. Nowhere in those health textbooks was I told of alternate developments. There were no pictures or diagrams I could compare what I had going on differing from the Tanner stages with possible outcomes.
At my most vulnerable points I reached out for knowledge, first on why there was a problem, then what it was. The words I’ve found have violated me even further. It was like trying to catch falling knives. There are words in everyday usage with secret intentions embedded within them. Once I realised that derision I could never unsee it.
The definition of species is “a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding.” They can either actually breed, or have the potential. According to this definition, I’m not a member of a species either. Sex exists for reproduction and nature decided I don’t get that reward. It’s equally distressing to be left out of both of our social constructs concerning gender and language. It gives me a sense that my life is intruding on the reality of others. I cannot easily define myself to fit into boxes. All I can say is I have a heartbeat and I feel.
I got into etymology during my stay in prison. I didn’t even know what it was called back then. I started looking up words and noticing the historical references. The more I looked, the more I saw how words can share the same root. It’s fascinating to me. Coming from Greek are both parts of the word etymology. There’s etym for true and ology meaning the study of. If etym can lead me onward, then I can use the ology to better understand what’s being said to and about me.
A word I’ve never been fond of is the word transvestite. It’s a combination of two Latin words literally meaning “across clothing.” Trans meaning across and vestire meaning clothing. I think it was my childhood exposure to that word and the negative connotations it had in the 80s. I don’t have a problem with the definition, I just don’t like the images I have associated with the word.
Dictionary.com lists an informal definition of eunuch as an ineffective man. Their example is: a political eunuch. The medical use of eunuchoid from the same site is: an abnormal condition in males, characterized by lack of fully developed reproductive organs and the manifestation of certain female sex characteristics, as high voice or lack of facial and body hair, resulting from the absence of a normal production of male sex hormones. It’s like being victimized all over again and reminded of so many parts of my body that I’ve been dysmorphic about. Sometimes every article I find drives me lower and it feeds a perpetual cycle downward. The worse I feel, the more I look; each action feeds the other.
An article from The Atlantic published April 1, 2013 written by Kristen Kukula and Richard Wassersug talks about the historical importance of eunuchs. “Their astuteness and objectivity in assessing others’ strengths and weaknesses made them particularly effective as bureaucrats, diplomats and tacticians.” Having low testosterone was a quality for solving problems and avoiding conflict. The article went on to mention a eunuch by the name of Mohammed Khan Qajar who unified Persia and created a dynasty lasting 130 years. Khan was described by historians as being “insightful and knowledgeable” concerning “the character and feelings of others.”
The words hermaphrodite and tranny are derogatory. I’m sure there are people out there who didn’t get the memo and might be unaware. The description in the medical community has shifted toward Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD). Again, people like me are described as having a negative. My shame and embarrassment are not improved when I’m described as having a disorder”.
One thought on “Tomorrow”
Definitely much of what he describes around education was also our experience – although by high school we were lucky to be sent to a private school where “effort” was rewarded over achievement. The negatives we managed to avoid for the above reason though we had similar thoughts regarding the continuing word negatives enjoined by medical people.
Even today, the medical folk are simply ignorant or intentionally stupid about descriptors and or individualizing prescriptions and dosages. A good friend told us ten years ago that med schools are mostly teaching content that was cutting edge 30 years ago. And old old expression comes to mind, “Science crawls forward with each death of a revered scholar.”
we look forward to reading this book..
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