You’ve got your mother in a whirl

Not sure if you’re a boy or a girl…

So, today I had an interesting experience. I had finished Three Essays on Sexuality and someone from my class (yes, I looked him up, but didn’t know him) had checked out the two books we’re sposed to read this week for queer culture (I bought them, but didn’t bring them to work) and the sourcebook isn’t in Lamont, so I looked up Leslie Feinberg. And, lo and behold, Transgender Warriors is on reserve. So I picked it up. I didn’t read it all–skimmed, mostly, since a lot of it is historical and I wasn’t in the mood–but I suddenly found myself questioning my gender identity. Like, in a serious way.

I’ve always felt off. When I was little all I wanted to be was a boy. I resisted dresses early on, started wearing a baseball cap regularly in elementary school (always a Utah Jazz hat–I only liked the team because I’d won with them in a computer basketball game. This was back in the days of floppy floppy disks), got called a little boy now and then (even with long hair, which, believe it or not, I did have, for quite some time) and all that. My best friend and I would play elaborate games of pretend during recess, almost always with both of us playing teenage boys who had girlfriends. (This was less unusual for the best friend, who would, in fact, grow up to be a teenage boy.)

I didn’t understand my crushes on girls until I read Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady by Florence King and my thoughts changed from “How would I feel if I had a gay friend?” to “How would people feel if they knew I was gay?”

But I’ve just never really settled comfortably into the female identity, or at least the commonly accepted expression of femininty. I hate dresses, I’ve only worn makeup for stage productions and Halloween, I only recently got into ear piercings and don’t really do jewelry, I don’t shave my legs or my pits (although I do shave my head), I abhor shopping for bras, I just bought my first three pack of boxer briefs (online–I’ll update when they arrive)… the list goes on. And on. And on.

It’s not that I don’t see myself as a woman, I guess–it’s more that I don’t really like it. And I’ve never believed anyone who told me I was beautiful.

I hate the way I feel when a woman asks me why I’m in the women’s restroom, or leaves and comes back looking sheepish. I hate that I consciously walk to emphasize my breasts when I have to go in public, usually leaving my hat and an outer garment somewhere if I can. I hate that I feel ashamed when someone calls me sir, and elated when someone says “What can I get for you ladies?”

I don’t know who I think I am.


3 Responses to You’ve got your mother in a whirl

  1. emily0 says:

    Ahhh, the joy of getting to your goal. As in, “What do you want to be when you grow up, little boy?” “A GIRL!”

    Which is kinda my life, only nobody ever asked me that and got that answer, because when I was little apparently I actually said, “A GARBAGE MAN!”, and about the time I start remembering things, I was telling people I had no fucking idea.

    But secretly, I thought, “A GIRL!”

  2. I totally feel you on a lot of what you said.

    I guess I just think it’s weird to recognize that most people see me as a woman but that’s something I can never be happy with. (and probably never be). And knowing that sometimes, I find things that make it less unlike me being a girl – like being butch, or queer, or around guys who are really femme anyhow – but ultimately, this is more like making it “less” bad.

    Being a woman just isn’t for me.

  3. lindsey says:

    better late than never = my two cents.

    hey, i didn’t like this whole “being a girl” thing at first. there are still inconvenient aspects of it, in fact. but there are inconvenient aspects to everything.

    eventually i realized that “woman” is a term that can encompass me, as well as all the cheerleaders. and female weightlifters. and girl boxers. and stewardesses. “butch” is a qualifier for “woman”, dammit, and there are further qualifiers for “butch”. huzzah! whaddaya know, i like myself for being all kick-ass. wish more girls would like themselves, too.–>

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