I am not uneducated in the debates over gender that are raging throughout the world. I understand that there are a lot of questions and none of them quite have easy answers. Is there such a thing as gender? Are we simply socialized to behave in these ways?
When it comes to answering these questions in direct words, I believe that "gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." I have always been female, and I will always be female. Here's the source for that quote, and let me say that I believe every word in this document on the family.
When people want an answer about gender, I turn to that document and that quote. But today, I'd like to write about the part I don't usually bring up in debates.
I feel like a woman in this sublime way that I cannot describe. Standing in front of the mirror the other day, I knew that there is something deep within me—beyond physical attributes, beyond what toys I played with as a kid, beyond what colors I like to wear—that is truly feminine. It transcends the mortal explanations and categories that so many scholars and interest groups throw at it. I just am beautiful and divine. Nothing outside of me can diminish my worth or my purpose. I am made to do all things: work, raise children, get an education, serve others. And I do all of these in a way no one but me can do, a way that is rooted in my identify as a woman.
It frustrates me that this isn't a valid argument in the voting polls or the scholarly discourse. It frustrates me even more that I cannot put it into words even for myself sometimes.
My hope is that other women will be more in tune to those moments where something in their spirit communicates that they are women. Often times there are a lot of things in the way, like our own ideas of beauty. I think that is in itself a sign that we are missing part of the picture.
I don't think it's just standing in front of a mirror. It's a moment that happens when we're least expecting it. This kind of knowledge happens though when you start thinking beyond what you see to what you feel. Keep thinking until nothing you come up with has anything to do with the world's view of these things. Think until it's only something you understand. I think then you'll understand what I mean.