What is Gender Grief?
Gender Grief describes the whirlwind of emotions and experiences that follow when someone we love moves outside of our understanding of gender as binary (male/female).
We are accustomed to thinking of grief as something experienced when someone we love dies, but grief has many flavors. Among them is the grief resulting from non-death losses, the loss of a relationship, a home, a career. Some losses are termed ambiguous because what has been lost is more obscure. For example, the loved one suffering from advanced dementia is still here physically and yet the person that they once were is gone. Their illness has taken an aspect of their identity and we grieve for the part of them no longer here with us.
In our society identity is very much tied to gender. When expectant parents happily announce the sex of their unborn child at a gender reveal celebration they are doing more than announcing the child’s physical characteristics. They are embracing an entire vision of what that child’s life will look like based on their physical determination of sex—male or female. But the world is increasingly acknowledging that sex is not gender and gender is not binary. Being either male or female doesn’t work for everyone.
When someone we love chooses to take their life down a path that is not labeled “male” or “female” they are releasing one version of themselves to claim another, and we also must say our goodbyes to that former identity. That’s why we experience grief. Even though our loved one is still here. Even though we still love them. Even though we support them and want them to be happy, we must let go of the person that they were to move forward into loving the person that they are. In doing so we may experience many emotions: sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, joy, pride, excitement and everything in between. But most assuredly we will experience grief. In our own unique way—because every experience of grief is unique—we will take a journey of releasing one form of identity so that we may welcome another.
When it comes to identity, when it comes to gender, how it is expressed is a personal choice. If one of those we love chooses to change their gender identity, we can only choose how we respond, how we accompany them on the journey. If you find yourself facing that path, breathe in and know that you stand on holy ground.
May your journey be blessed.
What Does a Guidance
Session Look Like?
Our time together on Zoom is unique to you and so each session is different by its end. As a guide, I will draw on my knowledge of the terrain of Gender Grief and my basket of healing tools to address your specific needs. After centering and grounding with guided breathing and visualization practices, you as client, can take the session in any direction that you wish.
If you need to tell your story in a safe space, know that anything you share will be received with unconditional positive regard and held in confidence. Our sessions are a no judgment zone.
If you need resources to help with your understanding of what you are going through and to inform your discussions with others, we can explore the wealth materials I have at my disposal.
And if you need healing to help you lean into your experience and find peace with it, we can incorporate a range of modalities—visualizations, shamanic reiki, vortex healing, sound baths, meditation, and affirmative prayer.
The goal of guidance is not to dictate what your journey looks like but to help you travel your path with greatest ease and more peace. After all, the best teachers show us where to look , but they don’t tell us what to see!