The Mercury Symbol
My mom’s former boyfriend Rick, now known as Andrea, became a woman over a decade ago. Andrea is a transgender person whom the Mercury symbol represents. For transgender people, the Mercury symbol stands for their personal inner striving to become the gender they feel they were meant to be, equality, and pride. Happily, Andrea and my mom have remained friends since she became a woman. For many people who cross the gender line, acceptance does not always come so easily.
Transgender is defined as appearing, wishing to be considered as, or having undergone surgery to become a member the opposite sex. There are many terms for or associated with transgender people, which people may also link to the Mercury symbol, such as transvestite, transsexual, crossdresser, intersexed (Wellesley College). The symbol is meant to express the balance of feminine and masculine traits within an individual. Some transgender people are open about their feelings while others, for fear of societal rejection, hide their pain for years and sometimes forever.
The Mercury symbol dates back to ancient Greek mythology. Hermes (Mercury) and Aphrodite (Venus) had a child that possessed both male and female sexual organs. They named the child Hermaphroditus, which is where the term hermaphrodite originally came from. The Mercury symbol is made up of three parts: the crescent moon, the cross, and the ring. The crescent moon represents masculinity, while the cross represents the feminine and the ring stands for the individual surrounded by the struggle with gender. (forPLU)
In today’s society, it is not easy to be an openly transgendered person and wear this symbol on your sleeve. Most people fear what is different and can’t understand why someone would want to be the opposite sex. This assumed rejection sparks the inner struggle within transgender people because they are looked upon as strange, disturbed, weird, crazy, etc. when all they want to be is themselves. For those transgender people who do not fear the judgment of others and are proud to be represented by the mercury symbol, they may choose to undergo surgery and become their “true” gender.
The mercury symbol does not stand for homosexuality or gay pride. As a matter of fact, the majority of transgender people are in or were previously in heterosexual relationships, like my mother and Andrea. Even in researching, the most common place to find information on the mercury symbol or transgender people is on gay or homosexual websites. There are some homosexual transgender people, but it’s important to realize that just because someone wants to be the opposite sex doesn’t necessarily make them gay (Lambda). There is no part of the mercury symbol that has to do with homosexuality.
The inner struggle may be the greatest factor in being a transgender person. Some say that for transgendered people, gender is like a performance they are taught to do from the day they are...