Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gender Growing Up

I recently had a close friend confess that he was trans to me.  I couldn't be happier for him and transitioning seems to be making him happier (having never before had a trans friend before, I'll probably post more about him later).  But when he did come out to me, I couldn't help remembering what I was like growing up.

I was such a tomboy when I was younger.  I wore dresses everyday till I was about 9, when I transferred to a different elementary school, and promptly decided that dresses were silly and I wanted to dress like the boys.  I started soccer and volleyball (on a ymca coed team).  Eventually it got so I was the only girl allowed to play soccer with the boys (they claimed they were scared they'd hurt girls who played accidentally, like girls were delicate flowers or something). I was so proud of that status.  I played pokemon, swapped trading cards with my guy friends, and was even to the point of saying to my parents, "I want to be a boy when I grow up."  They weren't really alarmed and figured I'd grow out of it.

I did to some extent, I never identified as trans.  I'm not particularly "girly" or "feminine" now, but certainly more so than I was then by a considerable margin.  But, I've learned to own my body and myself.  Looking back, I can realize that I didn't have a problem with my gender so much as I had a problem with the way my gender was treated.  I started puberty earlier than most anyone else I know (got my period at 9) and I hated what my body was doing and I think subconsciously, I was probably compensating.  I didn't want to be weak, I didn't want to bleed every month, I wanted to be treated like the boys.  When someone asked for help carrying something heavy, I wanted to be the one called one to help (really this is still the case, nothing drives me crazy more than someone asking for "strong men to help" or women saying "oh no, I'm too weak, let a man do it").  The boys had the run of the place in elementary school and I wanted that freedom.

Honestly, I think it was elementary school where I learned that it was my actions that led people to treat me how I wanted to be treated.

No comments:

Post a Comment