Michael Buckley

What Gender Am I?

Filed By Michael Buckley | May 05, 2010 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: gay advice, runaway mother, What the Buck

The 9th episode of Dear Buck where I change your life or not. Take it all with a grain of gay salt. I ain't no expert! Just what I think and having fun!

This episode: a runaway mother and a 15 year old with gender confusion.

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Alex doesn't seem particularly confused about gender, just about whether it's acceptable to like girly things and transition.

First of all, I want to say I have a headache. Michael, how do you talk so fast? That being said, I was attracted by the title of this video since I do a lot of academic research and writing about gender. I've seen a few "What the Buck" videos before, and although I recognized that Michael is totally adorable, the subjects covered were far outside of my narrow geek range of interests. So I was very curious to see what Michael would say about a young person who expresses an interest in gender transition. This is a really sticky subject with lots of expert opinions all over the place.

First of all, I was astounded by the depth of issues he dealt with, and how many hundreds of young people commented on the YouTube site, and also how young some of them said they were. The first letter was from a 13-year old whose mother left abruptly for another country and she's now living with her creepy abusive father. My heart ached just to hear it. I thought the advice was sound, basically: "I don't know what advice to give except look for help from other adults."

I actually thought he did a decent job of advising the second young person, who identified as a lesbian at 11 and is now feeling some masculine feelings, but also some interest in "girly things." She expressed an interest in being a boy. In his manic but compassionate way, Michael differentiated between sexual orientation and gender identity, explained that gender transition does not take place overnight, and said that there are professionals who do this for a living that can give good advice. Might not seem like much, but for a 13 or 14 year old, those are three key pieces of information that could make a lot of difference. I winced, of course, when he said the word "disorder," but that word is still used in the psychiatric texts, so I can't really fault him.

I thought to myself that there must be a crying need for young LGBT people to get advice on their issues that they really cannot get from anyone else. And then I hit my head, in a V-8 moment, remembering how confused I had been. I'd almost forgotten, it had been so many years.

I'm glad that Michael's style appeals to these young people and that they can get good advice from this compassionate man who knows when to make fun and when issues are serious that require help from people with more knowledge than he. That's wisdom.

Now where's my Advil?