Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:
A few weeks ago, I attempted to make an appointment for an intake session with a therapist. My co-pay would be zero, I’ve never availed myself of such help, and especially after this past year of COVID, wildfires, political unrest, I thought—Why not?
I had to speak to three people first, repeatedly assuring them I did not own a gun, did not intend to harm myself or anyone else, and did not have suicidal ideation. Each employee was civil and also without an iota of warmth, humanity, vitality or sense of humor.
Finally I got to the person who would directly connect me with the available therapist. We went through the same questions again. And then the person on the other end asked, “Do you identify as female?”
My being screeched to a halt. The very question was absurd, an affront. The sky is blue. I don’t identify the sky as blue. I live in a world in which the sky is blue. The essence of a created thing is not in my hands. I don’t change facts; I don’t have the power. I don’t bend reality to my will. I’m not God.
Do I IDENTIFY as female? I have a female name, voice, affect, and body. I have the chromosomes, heart, and psyche of a woman. If ever there were a loaded question, “Do you identify as female?” must be in the first tier. I almost screamed, “I AM female. I’m a woman. I’m 100 percent a woman.”