Diversity, in between
Chrysalides 23 offers diverse dedicated professional services:
- to people who do not identify to the strict definition of heterosexuality
- to those who question their sexual identity
- to those who are thinking about a sexual reassignment
- to their surrounding, families and friends
Therefore, our professional experiences as well as our personal experiences are what makes Chrysalides 23 resources so specials. We use our backgrounds in order to offer you the help you’re looking for.
In 33, 45 or 78 turns: One day it will be yours…
by Xavier Dany Girard
From one end to the other
From a continuum perspective, each society is composed of men and women, from one end to the other. This representation in black and white, does not allow much space for the expression and complexity of what it is to be a man or a woman. The diversity between those two extremes is too often put aside. Whether it is done on purpose, out of fear of the unknown or simply by ignorance, the result remains the same. Everyone is gendered, sexual and erotic. This reality is expressed through different kinds of sexual orientations from one individual to another one. Each of us carries a sexual identity which is unique to himself, with its own particularities and personal colours.
Those different ways of expression teach us that heterosexuality is not the only sexual orientation of mankind and that sexual attraction embraces a lot larger definition. Different expressions of sexual orientation, as homosexuality, are also part of the definition – fact that we cannot ignore, even if we may disagree. I have heard prejudices in my every day life which reflect deep unease whether it is through disguise contempt or goofy humor! We shouldn’t see it as a problem when playfulness, erotic pleasure or when the expression of sexuality does not necessarily equals procreation.
In terms of complexity, we shall not put aside the reality of those men and women who were socially identified at birth as boys and girls, and that sooner or later felt that they belonged to the opposite gender. Their out of the box experience as gendered individuals cannot leave us indifferent. Even more, they shall be considered a valuable source of inspiration and understanding of exactly what is sexual identity (or gender identity). Those individuals bring up fundamental questions about the belief that birth genitals are an automatic match with gender identity. They assert with thorough conviction and courage that they belong to opposite gender in spite of biologicals determinisms and pressure to stay within the boundaries of what it is socially expected from them. Some of them will go for sexual reassignment (sex change) and go through a transsexual transition in order to live a life corresponding to their true gender identity. Others will not go through this transformation but will choose hormonotherapy, mastectomy or breast reconstruction.
From oneself to a spectrum of differences
Which discomfort comes first? The fear of the unknown, the fact that it is different from us or sexual diversity? Do you once recall hearing : “…fine, but not-in-my-yard!”. Whether we like it or not, human sexual diversity is here to stay as a broad variety of grey zones between black and white; androgynous, bisexuals, masculine women, hermaphrodites, feminine men, queers, in betweens, transgendered, transsexuals men to women / transsexuals women to men.
Being from the fifty’s, I have memories of those square dance set and their songs lyrics: “…men on one side, women on the other”. But from my personal point of view, the truth is that between those two sides no other reality could exist. Differences were kept secret – no word were said about it. It was frowned upon. We were living in a closed and repressed world. Our only legitimate reference point seemed to be, the men on one side and the women on the other side. Being a sporty girl without being identify as a tomboy or being a sensitive boy without being called a sissy, were a constant reminder of the non-existence of the grey zones.
What I recall about homosexuality is regret, disappointment and shame. There were lots of prejudices that linked a lesbian to a tomboy or to a butch. To my ears, the tone referred to something strange and ridiculous. A true discomfort. She, and her counterparts were tolerated as long as they remained in the dark. The gays were seen as perverted, evil. The contemptuous expressions sissy boy, womanized man, revealing a threat to manhood. It was a very sensitive subject – was, and still is. What about transsexualism? Was it a fantasy for perverted people? At that time, there was no existing representation of that reality in my mind. The term transsexuality did not exist in my vocabulary, neither in the vocabulary of my surroundings.
Chrysalides 23’s special colours
As co-founders of Chrysalides 23 and sexologists, Annette and I developed a professional and common interest in working with and for LGBT clientele.
In fact, to follow any uncommon path requires lots of courage. It is also true that along the path of becoming who we really are and who we really want to be, it is unavoidable to knock at some doors to get support, encouragement and recognition. But, finding the proper help is not always easy – especially within the boundaries of respect and dignity. It was with this in mind that we decided, in 2011-2012, to create Chrysalides 23 – professional resources for LGBT clientele.