A year ago, my 21 year old child Quinn told me that they were transgender. This year, they transferred to UC Santa Cruz and are living in transgender dorm. Using the pronoun “they” like this is foreign to me, but seems totally normal to their generation. Realizing this has made me start reflecting on other generational shifts that are happening.
An article in Psychology Today says the baby boomers, “this ‘flower power’ generation is known for their pivotal roles in the civil rights movement, Woodstock and the Vietnam War.” The world has indeed pivoted, and the changes are becoming more and more noticeable. With the exception of the many wars that still continue, the changes that baby boomers protested seem to be rapidly becoming mainstream in the Millennial world.
I often wonder if it is because I live in liberal Sonoma County but changes aren’t just happening here. Sunday I saw a Doonesbury cartoon where Sam , the daughter of B.D. and Boopsie, says she’s not a feminist. When asked why, she defines it as the belief that woman are superior to men. When told it is the belief that they are equal, she is puzzled about why there would be whole movement around something that obvious. “You might as well defend gravity,” she says. What a shift!
I could see that having a conversation about feminism with Quinn could go the same way. Their generation no longer appears to be defined by a binary definition of gender and sexuality the way my generation is. Besides the changing use of pronouns, there is a whole new group of words in use in the trans community. Quinn considers themself to be a trans genderqueer demigirl who is demiromantic, panromantic, and asexual. None of this fits in the world that was fighting for civil rights. Now, if only there were a commonly used gender neutral word in our language for “adult child”!
The increasing acceptance of marijuana in our country is another example of the new world. While growing up, there was not a lot of diversity on how drug use was viewed. It was recreational with no discussion of positive qualities. That started changing with the medical marijuana movement. With recreational marijuana now legal in California, all of the cities are having to explore their views on something that used to be hidden. If you are also exploring, come to our showing of the film Neurons to Nirvana which is followed by a discussion.
The generation gap also appeared when I bought the Songbird building almost five years ago. There was a diversity of opinion around having J&D Tattoos as a tenant (they have been there for 26 years!). My generation and especially those who are older tended to be very concerned about this. The Millennials and younger Gen X’s have no problem. Many think it is cool. A 2015 Harris poll showed 47% of Millennials having at least one tattoo. In Sonoma County I wonder if it is even higher as it seems like almost every young adult I meet has one.
There is even more of a contrast between these types of views and the world of our parents and grandparents. Last weekend I watched a DVD of the Broadway musical of Peter Pan that I remember watching on TV as a child. The innocence and imagination of the children and the world it portrayed seemed almost unreal.
It’s important to remember that reality is always changing. I try not to let myself get caught up in believing that life needs to be a particular way. If you are feeling stuck in judgment about what is going on in your life or in the world, Songbird has many classes and services to support you in accepting and manifesting what you desire. We are also here to help you find the complementary and alternative healing support you need. In another generation, perhaps what we offer will also be a mainstream part of the new world.