Physical isolation affects many aspects of our lives, like communication, productivity and mental health — especially for students, whose day-to-day lives have seen a substantive change during the coronavirus pandemic. One other aspect that has changed is gender identity.
What many people — non-cisgender people even — have failed to acknowledge is that the fluidity of gender has been inescapably influenced through this period of physical isolation.
Even for the most progressive and inclusive of folks, such a drastic change in environment and lifestyle is bound to affect their gender realities. How we operate, where we do that and what kind of surroundings influence who we are and what expressions we are limited or not limited to, are all being changed by this pandemic.
When I came to Huron University 10 months ago, I never even questioned if I was anything other than a cisgender male. By the time campus was closed, I had gradually begun to embrace a non-gendered identity.
But, after three and a half months of isolation, I find my existence resembling the one I started my undergraduate life with.
It is not a change in my identity, but rather the conditions my latest self was found in. Take away those conditions, and the lived reality of that experience cannot continue.
At such a time, we must accept the changes in our identities, the same way we accept the changes in our environment.
— Siddharth Maheshwari, second-year, Huron University