Posted in gender presentation, my identity story

What (Not) to Wear?

Did you know that American author Willa Cather used to dress in men’s clothes occasionally and sometimes went by “William?” Her sexuality has long been speculated to be lesbian, but this gender non-conforming behavior isn’t well known or much discussed, which I think is unfortunate!

I used to hate shopping and looking in the mirror. Now, I love it. Okay, not completely without reservation – I’m no Narcissus (the guy, not the flower) – but I certainly don’t make furtive glances in the mirror like I used to. (more…)

Posted in labels, my identity story

What’s in a Label?

I am a genderqueer non-binary woman…

Not to start off on the wrong foot, but I’m terrified that everything I’m about to write is wrong.
Audrey, staff writer at Autostraddle from What It Means To Call Ourselves Non-Binary: An Autostraddle Roundtable.

Audrey’s quote sums up just how I feel. The first rule of LGBTQ labels (or any labels, really) is that the only one who can identify you with a label is you (or not, if you so choose). So I want to make it clear that what I’m writing about are my opinions and experiences as they relate to finding a place and a label for myself in the world of gender. (more…)

Posted in my identity story

It All Started Before I Knew It Was Beginning

In kindergarten, I thought the girls in my class were annoying. So, on the appointed day, I brought a raw egg to school so I could join the boys in throwing eggs the girls. I wanted in on this plan to demonstrate my distaste for the silly, giggly girls and to prove that I certainly wasn’t one of them. Alas – or luckily, because surely there would have been repercussions – my egg was squished in my jacket pocket before it could complete its mischievous mission.

In the 4th grade I said, “I want to be a boy,” because boys could do cool things like play baseball.

In middle school school, I wanted – someday – to have a cool flattop haircut like my mom described boys having in the 50s.

In early high school, I wanted to be cool and look like River Phoenix in Stand By Me.

I wanted a derby jacket.

I wanted high top Air Jordans.

In college, my roommate summed up room decor as “Peter Brady.” (picture of my actual bedspread)

Fits and starts at embracing my femininity followed. It wasn’t excessively uncomfortable for me, but I consistently felt at least mildly awkward, with notable peaks of severe discomfort. Clothes shopping was stressful and I was always striving to fit an ideal of what I thought I ought to look like. By my mid-20s, life took over and I settled into my relationship. We got a dog. I pursued my career. A decade or so passed until, in my late-30s/early 40s, I started to catch on to new words and expressions for gender identities beyond the “man/woman” binary. Thanks to the millennial generation embracing more varied sexual and gender identities, the Interwebs were filling with folks expressing their true selves. “Genderqueer” and “non-binary” immediately felt just right for describing myself. My internal sense of gender identity was sorted. Figuring out how it fit into my presentation an my life… I think that is a lifelong quest.

Young person with blonde hair with bangs laughing- circa 1979-80.
Me in the 3rd grade.