When I busted out of the womb in 1994, a doctor took a look at my genitals and assigned me female at birth. Now, for most of my life, this never bothered me. My parents weren’t super gender-oriented, so I was mostly allowed to express myself in whatever ways I wanted. This looked like a tomboy who would rather play video games than dolls. But I was also quite a loner. I never really associated with other kids… so naturally, I became the cool kid. Too cool to be bothered by drama and frivolous conversation.
In reality, I had anxiety, if you can imagine that! But that’s a blog post for another day. This one is about my experience figuring out who I am.
I never really subscribed to a binary gender system. Sure, when I was a little kid I thought there were boys and there were girls and that was that. I managed around these terms without much thought. I vehemently denied that I could possibly be gay because my hometown is very conservative. Fast forward to high school and everyone around me is in a relationship. I think something is wrong with me. People just think I’m cool. Not cute or huggable, just cool. A friend and nothing more. There were a few boys who showed an interest in me, but I just was not interested in them.
Looking back now, I much preferred when a certain girl in my music class would play with my hair and call me pretty.
Senior year of high school rolls around and I’ve decided I’m bisexual, in a very trans-exclusive kind of way because I don’t know any better. I don’t tell anyone. It’s just my secret. College rolls around and it’s a new place, an accepting place, so I start telling people. I’m a bisexual woman. I join the Students for Queer Advocacy and meet people I never could have dreamed existed. I learned about trans people, their battles and their triumphs.
The details are blurry, but by the end of college, I’m so out of touch with the gender binary, I start to believe it isn’t real. Gender is a fluid. Some people hang out in the masculine end, some on the feminine side, some in the middle, some bouncing all around the swimming pool of gender. Sexuality is the same. I stop telling people I’m bisexual. I’m a lesbian. I try that label on for a few years before I realize that’s not quite right either.
So here I am today. Unlabeled by preference, but if I had to put words to it I’d say I’m a she/hers genderfluid pansexual leaning toward a preference for women. More importantly, I am what I am. It doesn’t matter what other people assume about me based on my appearance. Like, for example, I have tremendously large breasts. There is no escaping a world where people constantly assume I’m a woman. I can’t change other people, but I can change myself. The dysphoria is real, folx. One day I’ll have top surgery to get rid of these awful bags on my chest. Until then, I’ll allow people to call me a woman. You gotta pick your battles. I’ve been extremely fortunate to come from a family and group of friends who love me unconditionally, whether they understand my gender and sexuality or not. So being misgendered doesn’t bother me. I understand how jarring and insulting it is to other people in the trans community, but… I know who I am. I don’t care what other people assume.
One day, I will have the perfect androgynous body of my dreams. One that can snap back and forth from masculine to feminine and in between at will. The outside will match the inside. I’ll love and be loved by… someone? That part is still a mystery. Anyway, it’s one step at a time, one day at a time, one fight at a time.
Oh, yeah. A quick comment: I have a lot of cis-passing privilege. I think people assume I’m not straight because my hair is short and purple, so I’ve got that base covered. But yeah, most people assume I’m a woman, and I get a lot of privilege from that. No one tries to verbally or physically assault me in a public restroom. I haven’t been fired from a job because of my gender. I try to use this privilege to fight for our trans siblings out there. The world is hard enough. No one needs to get a hard time about using a public restroom.