the mouse that roared's picture

So here I am, at the lesbian capital of the world, in the lesbianest college. Finished my first week of classes. Love the environment. Wear overalls all the time. Meet a lot of girls, have a few gay friends, a lot of straight ones live in my dorm. As far as I can tell anyway. Long story short, I'm actually fitting in comfortably.

Except for this one thing. I'm at a women's school, and I'm not so sure I ID as female. I knew this was coming, and my school has a pretty big trans population, but ack! I feel like I'm coming out to myself all over again. I mean, some trans people knew since they were two, and I definitely haven't been that way. I guess I've just felt a bit "meh" on the subject of gender for a long time. Part of that was because I felt a bit weird in my own skin at public school, and I didn't really have any female examples other than nerd or groomed.

But the whole concept of gender is weird to me. Gender roles, gender norms. Why does gender dictate all these weird things like the height of shoe you wear or whether you put chemicals on your face? Or whether you have this crazy fluffy Victorian name like I do? When I step outside the paradigm of "Men do this, women do that" I feel like I'm an alien hot-air ballooning over the United States. My society has been cut out of me.

It especially irks me when people say that gender is completely genetic. No! No! I have a choice, I do. In other cultures, people have different gender constructs than here, sometimes opposite ones. If races differ so slightly in genetic makeup, how could gender identities and roles be so varied in different places?

Maybe I should just go live somewhere where gender isn't an issue. Is there a place like that? Maybe I...

I just feel this not-femaleness so much of the time. "Women" doesn't really apply to me anymore. Maybe I'm just confused about what range of women are out there, but I feel like I'm not it. Yet here people mistake me for straight all the time because my hair is maybe three inches long instead of buzz-cutted.

Maybe I'm just confused and need to wait it out. Maybe I just need a girlfriend. Maybe I'm just traumatized from public school. Maybe I need to look butcher. I feel like I'm always five steps behind the look I think I'm presenting and the actual one that comes out. I don't know how to do this stuff, though! I never thought about it before, never cared about my clothes. And now I want to go pillage the men's sections at stores, and I didn't at home because my straight girlfriends might be wierd about it and here because I haven't found anyone yet. And I have no money.

This writing feels really disjointed to me. Maybe I'm taking too many foreign languages, or maybe it's just so hard for me to even let myself think about this as if it were real.

I just don't want to go through this again, you know? Even here, with so many transguys, I'm gonna be an outcast again, gonna have to come out.


patnelsonchilds's picture

I don't really know much

I don't really know much about transgender issues, but from what I do know, I'm not really getting that vibe from you. Rejecting the "female" stereotype is one thing, but you don't seem to be saying that you identify strongly as "male" either. I don't wonder you're hung up on this stuff though. The idea that the length of your hair would be an indicator of your sexual orientation is completely ridiculous, exactly the kind of non-conformist conformity that screams hypocrite to anyone that's really comfortable enough with themselves to actually be themselves. The butch lesbian stereotype is as old and tired as the effeminate gay man. Yes there are people who fit them, but most people don't and trying to conform to that is going to make you just as unhappy as any other mold that you don't fit into. It sounds like you are having an identity crisis, but that doesn't necessarily translate to being transgender. If you are, so be it, but you're at the time in your life when it's normal to try on lots of hats and see which ones fit. For some people, this is exciting and liberating. For others, it is confusing and frightening. I fell into the latter category until I finally managed to carve out my own identity. It sounds like you're in that same category. You'll find you niche eventually. Some people just need more time than others. The thing is, you don't really have to hurry and be a finished product; you just need to learn to be more comfortable as a work in progress.

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- Pat Nelson Childs
"bringing strong gay characters to Sci-Fi & Fantasy"