Lyrics to George Michael’s Freedom
In 1990 George Michael say, “I think there’s something you should know (I think it’s time I told you so) There’s something deep inside of me (There’s someone else I’ve got to be) Take back your picture in a frame (Take back your singing in the rain) I just hope you understand, sometimes the clothes do not make the man.”
He was talking about breaking away from the images and assumptions the world had about him, the constraints placed on him by the expectations and needs of others. He was a world wide sex symbol and a closeted gay man.
The frustration and need he talks about are universal though. So many of the folks I work with are constrained by their family’s perceptions and needs and the roles they have been given in the family.
Sometimes that role is the Good Girl, the Bad Boy, or simply whatever the sex assigned at birth was. Regardless, this leaves no room for the full exploration or expression of who they are, outside of what’s written on their birth certificate.
Often client s come to me already knowing their gender identity and it is a matter of giving them space to finally identify it for themselves.
That can be a stripping away of familial and cultural expectations for who they are. Undoing internalized transphobia.
Sometimes it’s about working through traumatic associations to what it means to be trans, or a man, a woman. This can be about undoing internalized misogyny or homophobia.
Sometimes it is about holding space for them to not know, and not have to be pressured to come up with an answer on the spot. This can be about simply exploring or making it okay to not know or change their minds.
None of us can really escape the “clothes” that our families and our culture dress us in. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t change those “clothes” and find something that fits us better.