So Can't Handle This

So i've been putting off writing a story for this group because it seems like my opinions of gender and gender expression change pretty frequently.  And my general opinion of labels, as of late, has been to avoid them at all costs.  And even though checking the genderqueer box is a lot like checking "none of the above" in terms of labels, I still didn't like checking any box at all.  Not for nonconformist reasons, but mostly because I just didn't really like the way any of them sounded.  That being said, I'm gonna do my best to explain what being genderqueer or gender-variant means to me.  And forewarning this is gonna be rambly and probably not make much since.  Apologies in advance.

I cut off all my hair at the end of last year between thanksgiving and winter break.  I did it because I thought that I was a boy deep down.  I was always a depressed kid, at least since I hit puberty.  And when I heard that I could possibly be a boy trapped inside a girl, I thought, "**** that's gotta be me.  I mean just look at me."  My main reason was the fact that I pass as male so well without even trying.  I thought God was finally throwing me a bone.  But after about a month of passing as male to almost all strangers, and trying my best to be a male as possible, I didn't feel any less depressed.  In fact, I felt almost worse.  I wasn't much for thinking about death, but all of sudden I thought about killing myself like everyday.  Not completely seriously but just as "option E". I can A) be a girl, B) be a boy, C) be a tomboy, D) go back to exactly how i was before, or E) kill myself.

I cried myself to sleep a couple times.  And one day woke up, looked in the mirror, and didn't recognize myself.  I was shaking the rest of the day.  I was at home at the time, so there wasn't really any pressure from friends to be anything but myself, which was nice.  I also somewhat came out to one of my closest friends as being something other than straight.  But here's why I don't like labels.  I knew what I said was true, but I didn't know how true, or how to explain it.  Or what she understood it to mean.  I just couldn't find comfort in my own skin.

I went back to school and decided that I preferred female pronouns, for sure.  I never feel uncomfortable having people call me "she" but I do sometimes with "he."  Over the break I bought some new clothes from the boys' section, and loved them.  And wore them almost everyday when I got back to school, and I cut my hair three more times as it seems to grow incredibly fast.  But I still love it.  But the gender problems haven't stopped.

Most people that know me, see me as a tomboy.  But every single stranger I come across perceives me as male, and I have to admit, I hate it.  I mean I'm not stupid.  I know that I bring it on myself with how I dress and act and feel absolutely no need to project anything feminine about myself unless I feel like it, and most of the time, i only feel like it around my friends.  When I look in the mirror, when I see pictures of myself i say "Damn, I look like a badass," that's one label I'm tight with.

But eventhough I may look like a boy in every sense of word, I completely own my female body and my fem side which has taken me awhile to realize. True, I hide my chest when I get dressed, but when Im in just a sports bra and underwear, I still look good.  I've come to the conclusion that I look sexy whether I'm seen as a boy or a girl.

I guess to some extent, I am just too new at this whole gender thing.  If it acts like a boy, looks like a boy, thinks like a boy, it must be a boy right? That's what I thought, but I'm not a boy, and the only way that I can justify is by saying that I'm just not.  I feel like the transwoman that knows she's a girl but still likes ties, baggy jeans, boxer briefs.  Just because no one believes her doesn't mean it isn't true.  Hell, even my inner monologue slips into male pronouns more often then not (and yes i have an inner monologue.)  Like I'll say to myself "I'm the kind of guy that likes a good snowball fight," but I cringe whenever people refer to me as male outside my own head.

But the weirdest part of all, on somedays, despite what i'm wearing, I just want someone to call me beautiful.  Badass beautiful.  I don't mind dresses.  It's more of the fact that they are inconvenient than they somehow invalidate my gender or something.  I have dresses that I plan on wearing again one day even if don't know when that day will be.

Despite the fact that I am clearly non binary in my own gender I still think of myself as one or the other.  I like to have a flat chest when I'm wearing guys' clothes and I want people to call me beautiful when I 'm in a dress.  I think a huge part of it is that I've never had anybody validate my existence, nobody to say that they love me, choose me, for everything that I am and everything that I might be one day.  A part of me thinks that if just one guy liked me hight school, some crush that was reciprocated, i wouldn't be here right now. I wouldn't be questioning my gender, my sexuality, my existence.  Someone who I could write on a piece of paper with hearts "Let me be your man."

In all honesty, I try to just not think about it anymore.  I spent three years burying all this stuff down deep inside, and maybe that's where it belongs for now.  Maybe I'm just not in a place where I can handle this right now.  But I certainly would not be here if it were not for my best friend her at school.  She's a lesbian, and was the first person I told that my first kiss/make-out sesh/night spent in bed was with a girl, and that was not what I expected AT ALL. She told me right off the bat that it was ok.  I thought she would be mad because I told her I was straight before.  But she wasn't, and then she said that it's ok not have a label if you don't want one.  So I guess in alot of ways, she's kind of the person that validates my existence :)

daysofgreen213 daysofgreen213
3 Responses Feb 27, 2010

I totally agree with wansu. That's what's so great about being genderqueer, for me at least. I have the entire gender spectrum to play around in, and sometimes I don't want to be in it at all. For me, this can also be the most frustrating. I have a very feminine looking body & face and its hard for me when I'm really in the male spectrum. I feel like a guy, dress like a guy, talk like a guy, walk like a guy, but am always addressed as a girl because I don't look quite enough like a guy. When I feel/identify as both or neither, I prefer to be addressed with the pronoun "ze" because it addresses both and yet neither at the same time. But no, you don't have to take on a label. People clutch onto labels because its like a security blank for their identity. A label automatically connects them to a group who all have the same label. It is safe to be part of a group, it puts us at ease and is a sub-conscious survival method. It is actually my theory of why cliques are so prominent in high schools. Teenagers are desperately try to find their identities and so attach to themselves labels to be part of a group. They need to belong to something to feel safe. As people get older, their identities begin to develop and so they don't clutch as hard to labels. But it also depends on the label. Core labels mostly. Like gender. Gender is a core label. But anyway, I want to recommend a book to you. Its called "My Gender Workbook" by Kate Bornstein. Its a great book and she talks about this kind of thing (& doesn't care for labels herself) and I think it may help you out. Best of luck to you.

Thanks for the reassurance. Sometimes it's nice just to know you aren't the only one going through all this

It takes a long time to figure all this out. I'm 26 and still struggling! It feels good to have a label for yourself, but it isn't needed. You can dress like a boy and have a boy haircut but still identify as female. Expressing one side of your gender identity doesn't invalidate the other. Playing around with gender and the ex<x>pression of gender can be fun and informative.