JJ Vincent asked a 69-year-old about gender, identity, self-expression, and what defines a man.
I’ve known Harry King for almost as long as I’ve been in Alabama. He’s a veteran, a traveler, a craftsman, a community organizer, and happily retired.
Q: The dictionary is being rewritten. How would you define gender?
A: The mental and emotional state on how one identifies themselves in their sexual orientation.
Q: How would you identify your own gender?
Q: What do you think makes someone a man?
A: How one carries themselves, interacts socially and the image they portray.
Q: There’s a lot of current discussion about children being raised without gender. If you had care of a very young child, how would you approached gendered issues (toys, clothing, activities)?
A: Allow them to choose their own direction.
Q: Most forms and surveys have boxes on them for M or F. Would you change this if you could and if so, how what would you put instead?
A: Yes. How do you identify, male or female.
Q: Do you think topics of gender identity and expression should be discussed in schools? Why/why not?
A: No. I think it should be discussed at home with the parents.
Q: A question about relationships. If a person identifies themselves outside of the traditional M/F, should this be an early topic of conversation? Should it be a topic at all?
A: Honesty is very important in any relationship. Saying that, I think it should be discussed.
Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing men today?
A: Having and holding a well-paying job to provide for the family.
Q: What are the biggest changes you have seen in expectations of men in your lifetime?
A: The traditional roll of the bread winner within the family.
Q: Last question. You have the chance to display/show your gender identity. Anything goes, no questions asked. What do you wear?
A: What I normally wear.
This is the final interview of a 12-part series. Find the rest of the 10 Questions interviews here:
Not Better, Not Worse, Just Different: 10 Questions About Gender
Suit, Tie, and Tolerance: 10 Questions About Gender
Stripes, Queer, or Houndstooth: 10 Questions About Gender
Check M, F, or Other: 10 Questions About Gender
Next week, a wrap-up of things I learned along the way. -JJ
Photo courtesy of Harry King