Thursday, 18 November 2010 03:34

Exploring Gender: Let Me Introduce Myself

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I was never one of the normal little girls: no bows, no Barbies, no dresses. God help my mom if there were dresses. I loved action figures (Spider-Man is the best super hero), climbed trees, jumped in mud puddles, cut my hair short, and played a sport every season the recreation club in the neighborhood had enough kids to play. I epitomized the gender stereotype of the tomboy.

And then, I grew up and tried to leave the stereotype behind me. I grew my hair out, wore tight-fitting clothes, and tried to fit in. I went to high school and began going out with one of my friends, a boy. He took me to Homecoming. We kissed; we danced; he parked his car; and we made out in the back seat—because that is what is expected. But I knew it wasn’t right. I fell in love with him anyway and tore him apart when I told him I couldn’t be with him. I think I would have married him. Only recently have I come to terms with the fact that I can’t be with that first love.

I struggled with my identity as a lesbian. I knew I was attracted to girls, but I kept demanding of the world: I am already different. I am already one of the outcasts. Why this one thing, this one part of me, that people are going to hate me for? Why must I be hated for the rest of my life simply for who I am? I tried my best to fight back those feelings, to cover them in homework and fantasy books and poetry. But the more poetry I wrote, the more I revealed to myself how running away was hurting me. I came out to my mom my junior year because I was tired of hiding. I came out at school the following year.

This is my last year of college before I go on to graduate school. When I arrived here, I felt my first inkling of freedom, even just to wear what clothes I wanted on a day to day basis after being at a school with a dress code for over ten years. And with this freedom came thoughts, doubts, questions, about who I am, who I feel like I should be physically.

I had never questioned my gender identity, but now that I had the freedom to do so, I did. I do. It is an on-going process which I am here to share with you. This is my personal search for identity, for a place, for courage. These are my thoughts, my feelings, and I hope that through sharing myself I might help others to find the courage to ask themselves those tough questions: Who am I? Who do I feel like I should be?

I will be posting every Wednesday. If you have questions or suggestions for topics relating to gender, you are welcome to contact me. Until then.