Thursday 27 October 2016

Anna Nolan: 'Gender fluid' is a new one to me - you and I need to talk Jonathan Rachel Clynch

I find this really challenging as a I don't know what it means

Anna Nolan

Published 15/09/2015 | 07:33

Imagine the reaction then when Jonathan Clynch, who works in RTE, revealed that he is ‘gender fluid’. “What the hell is gender fluid?”, I could hear some people ask. “What do those words even mean?”

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I decided to read some of the reactions online. On one website a poster joked about the reaction in RTE – “Jazuz, What the flock… What’s this condition, is it curable.  Can Sharon Ni catch it? Quickly, Google it. The markets are fluid, the situation in Europe is fluid and now our staff are becoming fluid. Get Joe Duffy ready.”

'Gender fluid' radio presenter Jonathan Rachel Clynch
'Gender fluid' radio presenter Jonathan Rachel Clynch

And another tweet cheekily stated: “Always check your gender fluid, my car failed the nct for having low gender fluid...”

Now, I have to say, I roared with laughter at these two reactions. They nailed how people around the country would be feeling about a man who will turn up to work sometimes as a man, and sometimes as a woman.

There were coarser, highly offensive reactions also, but you just ignore those.

Being gender fluid is new to most of us. It’s new to me. So it’s ok to be perplexed. And when we are perplexed we Irish make funny observations and that’s ok too.

Jonathan Rachel Clynch sometimes feels like a man. And sometimes feels like a woman.

I find this really challenging as I don’t really know what that means. 

Now, lucky for me as a woman I can wear jeans. I can wear a shirt. I can wear clothes that men wear. I can also wear a dress, if the mood takes me. I can wear trainers, but I can also wear sexy high heel shoes. 

I can go to work with my hair simply brushed and no make-up.  But I can also head out on a Friday night and wear killer heels, smoky eyes and lip gloss.

Men can’t do that. But I’m not sure that gender fluid means doing it.

I have been fascinated by the Caitlyn Jenner story. The Olympic male athlete transtioned into a woman this year. He says he has always felt like one.

But I don’t know what it is to feel like a woman. Is it the way we walk? The way we talk? Is it on the outside – clothes, make up, bras and shoes? Or is it on the inside? But if I don’t know what it’s like to feel like a woman – how can a man?

I watched the Caitlyn Jenner’s series I Am Cait and I found out little about the issue. I saw a man who changed his body and his wardrobe.  But I still saw the same language, humour and emotions come from Caitlyn as came from Bruce. 

I definitely grapple with gender identity, not because I have any issue with it, but because I would have thought that in the 21st century you can be whoever you want to be without needing to specifically identify as anything. 

Transgender men never become ordinary jeans-wearing, make-up free, casual Converse-shoed women, because I imagine that’s not how they see women as being. But I am a woman! And that’s what I wear.

Oh dear, its all so confusing.  Jonathan Rachel Clynch, we need to talk.

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