I Thought You Were A Woman.

Someone I have never met told me they thought I was a woman. I’m not. They made this assumption based on my Instagram account.

The person is a friend of a friend and stumbled upon my Instagram account, as people do within the world of social media. They requested to follow, I accepted, and they perused my photos.

The person then messaged me in surprise and told me that she thought I was female.

Why?

Because of the content of my Instagram posts.

Essentially, all of my posts depict nature or books. Once I’ve read a book that I like, I take a photo of the cover and maybe and excerpt from the book and I post it on my account. Actually, I haven’t done this for a while, I think I just forgot.

Otherwise, my Instagram account contains images of nature. When I go hiking, cycling, camping or into nature, I like to take photos of sunsets, beaches, plants, trees, skylines and animals. I’d like to have more photos of animals but they’re hard to capture with a basic smartphone lacking a decent zoom. If I do capture an animal it’s always a bonus.

Almost every one of my posts depicts lakes, rivers, mountains, trees, rocks, sand, sun and surf, because I love nature and try to spend as much time in it as possible. My account contains almost no images of myself.

I don’t like appearing on camera and I’m not vain or beautiful enough to be an Instagram model, so I don’t take many selfies. I do appear in other people’s photos or have friends take photos of me, but I just have no interest in posting them online.

I explained to the woman that I am in fact a man, and we had a good laugh about it. It did make me think, however.

Why would someone think that I was female after seeing photos of books and nature?

Have we been conditioned to think that an interest in or respect for nature is feminine? Can only women appreciate and express an appreciation for nature, and is this linked to a woman’s role as a nurturer and care giver?

If this is the case, does it explain the current state of the world’s climate and the natural environment?

Mother Earth, as we often call it, is in trouble after years and years of human abuse, and this abuse is continuing even though we now know better. We now know that previous practices are harming the planet upon which we rely for our survival but we continue with these practices.

Is this cycle of destruction perpetuated because men still rule the world? Certain organisations, businesses and countries have a woman in the top job, but the system which was created by men is still controlled by men. If a man is not expected to love nature, even via an Instagram account, protecting the environment into the future will be very difficult, because men are still making most of the decisions which determine the state of the planet.

Is it time to give women a turn? Really give them a turn. Not just appoint a few women to the position of national or corporate president, not just vote women onto boards or executive positions, but replace men in large numbers at every level of government, business and other sectors of society. Men had their turn running the world, the planet is in very bad shape, so maybe it’s time they were replaced.

If the men running the world were the starting players on a sporting team, their results suggest it’s time they were taken off and replaced by those who have been waiting their turn on the reserves bench.

Can you love nature and still be a man?

Do we have to change paradigms of masculinity to include respect for nature and pride in publicly expressing a love for the natural world?

Do we need to reach a point at which assumptions cannot be made about someone’s gender because they display images of nature on a social media account?

Can Gay people save the world?

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The biggest problem facing the world at present is overpopulation. Gay people could help us solve that problem.

The number of people on the planet is placing enormous strain on resources and population numbers look set to increase. One solution to this problem is to limit the number of children being born, and gay people could play a large part in this.

Before we continue, it is important to establish that, for the sake of this article, ‘gay’ and ‘homosexual’ refer to men in relationships with other men, and women in relationships with other women. Yes, the article does use a very narrow definition of gender, but the premise of the article is based on the simple fact that ‘gay’ people cannot naturally reproduce.

This, therefore, is the starting point for our theory.

Gay people cannot naturally reproduce, and, therefore, cannot naturally add more people to the population. Even in countries in which same-sex marriage has been legalised, biology prevents couples from creating their own children.

What about artificial insemination?

Yes, gay people can turn to modern medicine to help them start a family, and this has been successful in many cases. But, remember, effective and safe insemination services are only available in wealthy countries, and sometimes only to the more wealthy people in those countries. Most people in the world are not wealthy, most people work very hard to put food on the table every day. So, while this option helps create loving families in some parts of the world, it is not a realistic option for most couples.

Plus, artificial insemination adds another human to the planet.

What about surrogacy?

Like artificial insemination, this is another successful method used to bear children. But, like insemination, it is often only realistically available to couples from wealthy countries. Many women is poorer countries do act as surrogates, but only out of sheer economic desperation. Surrogacy can place significant strain on a woman, and lead to dire results. Furthermore, many men in these patriarchal societies are unlikely to approve of their wives carrying a child for other people – unless there is significant financial compensation.

Plus, surrogacy adds another human to the planet.

A one-child policy?

China tried the one-child policy. It didn’t work, for the simple reason that any system that is created by humans can be exploited by humans.

Interestingly, in the case of the one child policy in China, apparently, the ‘one child’ referred only to the women. If a man divorced his wife, then re-married, he was apparently allowed to have another child with the new wife – therefore bringing two children into the world.

What about adoption?

Yes, gay couples can adopt, and many of them do. Through adoption, a child finds a home and a couple is gifted a child to love. It is usually a very positive outcome for all concerned, and it is a positive outcome for the planet because an adopted child has already been born. The parents of the adopted child are not creating another child and are therefore not adding to the world’s population.

Thus, gay couples adopting children is one effective solution to reducing the number of children being born, and this is clearly the most humane solution to limiting population growth.

What are the other methods of limiting population growth?

A human cull.

Extermination of people in order to reduce the number of humans on the planet.

Yes, this is a deplorable suggestion, but it has been attempted before. It has been attempted by all of those people who filled the pages of your highschool history books – Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao Zedong…many of whom deliberately attempted to eliminate particular groups of people. Surely this could never happen again, you argue, we are now too enlightened, we’ve learned from our mistakes.

Really?

Examine the rise of extremism throughout the world, and examine how many of these extremists are unemployed, poor, displaced and affected already by overpopulation.

Natural forces

Unfortunately, if population increases as it is expected, and if the world continues to operate according to the current reality, it is natural forces that will reduce population numbers.

This is not good.

Natural forces include hunger and starvation, borne from poverty, as more people compete for fewer jobs. Another natural force is environmental destruction, which is already destroying access to clean water, food sources, clean air and spaces fit for human habitation. Some people are already dying as a result of environmental destruction, and informed projections indicate that this phenomenon will only increase.

Another natural force is conflict. Conflict is inevitable in humans, but this primal trait will manifest itself more frequently and more obtusely in a world full of hungry, disillusioned people who have become economic and environmental refugees.

If gay people can help save the world, what is stopping this from happening?

Religion

Religion is an impediment to limiting population growth. Religion stigmatises or even criminalises homosexuality and same-sex relationships which not only causes harm to homosexual people, but often forces them into marriages they do not want. These marriages produce children. Often those children are loved, and provided for, but they would not have been born if one, or both, of the parents had not been heavily pressured to conform to their society’s dominant religious belief.

We might also digress and examine the fact that religion discourages contraception and many religious families bear many children. Furthermore, religion, of any kind, is often a barrier to abortion and so many women give birth to child that they either didn’t want or can’t realistically support. Legalising and providing safe access to abortion is one way to not only to control population numbers but it helps to ensure that many children do not enter the world without the love and support that they need in order to thrive.

Men.

As long as men control women’s bodies and reproductive rights, limiting population numbers will be impossible. Men still largely control legislation, relating to issues such as abortion and LGBTQI rights. Men still control religions. Men still control relationships and, in most parts of the world, men determine if a woman will fall pregnant.

Ignorance and intolerance.

Ignorance, intolerance, hate and criminalisation of homosexuality often forces many men and women to remain in the closet. As discussed earlier, many gay and lesbian people are living in marriages they would not choose if it were not for the stigma attached to homosexuality in their societies.

Removing stigma, criminalisation and discrimination against the LGBTQI community should enable more people to live as they want to live, and may, in turn, help reduce the world’s population and create a more livable planet for everyone.

Image: Vector Stock