Boy, Girl, Boy-Girl?
Posted by diagnosemylife
One of the big discussions of this generation’s 20-somethings is the discussion of gender identity. Everywhere on the media you see both triumphs and setbacks for people whose gender identities do not match the gender they were assigned at birth…from bathroom politics, to transgender characters on TV…and from this generation of twenty-somethings and younger we see more love and support than any other generation. The world is starting to swim with the possibilities surrounding these gender issues; where there was once just “boy” and “girl” there are terms like transgender, genderqueer, bigender, gender fluid, agender, etc. And even though not everyone knows what these terms mean or how to use them, people are beginning to understand that what is between your legs doesn’t dictate who you truly are.
I’ve had my own journey in learning about these identities, and issues in the LGBTQ community in general. It’s been almost a year since I’ve come out publicly as bisexual, and even longer since I’ve come out to friends and family. In this time span I’ve gone through so many personal changes…but perhaps the biggest is the realization that I can be more than just one thing.
Let me explain: by being bisexual, (really pansexual, but I use the term bisexual because just about everyone knows what that means) I no longer fit into the old “straight, white girl” box that I used to. Suddenly I became a part of this world of LGBTQ people, people who didn’t fit into the “straight” box and people who struggled with being a bit less traditional than what conservative America strives for. I was gay! Except that I wasn’t…stigma against bisexuals and pansexuals in the LGBTQ community pushed back against me, and I became outside both groups of people. And then there was my presentation…before I came out, I dressed exclusively feminine. I wasn’t exactly girly in my T-shirts and jeans, but I would have never fathomed venturing into the guys department of stores. But then when I came out, I realized that part of expressing my bisexuality came from how I dressed, how I did my hair, and which people I hung out with. So I experimented. I cut off all my hair and styled it like a mohawk, I traded some of my push-up bras for sports bras, and I started seeing clothing as pieces of cloth instead of boy/girl boundaries. Granted, most of these changes were unconsciously made…I had never realized before how much of my appearance was to attract men until I started wanting to attract women. “Guys like long hair,” “Guys like big boobs,” “Guys like girls who show off their legs in dresses and skirts,” “Guys like everything to be shaved,” Once I started ignoring these social messages I realized what I liked. And I liked short hair, not shaving my armpits, warm legs in the winter and boobs that people stare at less. For the first time since I was 14, I felt like my job wasn’t to be sexually appealing to men. So I became more than one thing, more than “butch”, more than “fem”, more than “straight”, and more than “bi”…I became myself.
Which brings me to now. In a culture that is rapidly asking questions about gender identity (what it is, what it means), I find my decisions under a microscope. I’ve started asking myself questions about why I prefer the things I do…why somedays I hate the idea of putting on a dress and makeup, wish people would call me “bro” or “dude” instead of “her” or “girl”, and want to hold open doors for pretty girls and pay for dinner….and then other days I don’t mind “ma’am” and love the feel of the breeze against my dress and shaved legs… Being allowed to cross gender boundaries in the LGBTQ community has opened up a world of experiences for me that I love. But what does it mean? I’m not a guy—that I know—but am I just a girl?
I just like being referred to as a person. All people love to lump together men and women like their gender determines if they play dating games or will forget your anniversary, and I am guilty of this too. But some days it really bugs me that guys see me as something to fuck rather than a peer to hang out with. And it bugs me that girls talk to me about my boyfriend like he owns me or I own him, instead of us working together. Maybe these little annoyances don’t mean anything as a collective whole, or maybe they do. All I know is that if I am genderqueer, or not simply a girl, than that is a whole other set of hoops life will make me jump through…and I’m not sure if it’s worth the energy.
About diagnosemylifeOkay, if I can't keep all this stuff about my life in my head, how do you expect me to shove it in this little box?
Posted on 07/18/2016, in Feminism & Social Issues, Who The Hell Am I? & Other Stuff You Ask Yourself and tagged bisexuality, gender fluidity, gender roles, genderqueer, LGBTQ, women's and gender studies. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.