I think I’ve always known that I might not be entirely… normal in the gender department. Purely by fluke, I seem to have grown up hitting milestones in my personal life (in regards to gender diversity) which correlated to the milestones North American pop culture was hitting at the same time. As I explored what it meant to be a woman, and whatever else it was that I was feeling, I was also being shown that it was okay to not necessarily be “one or the other.”
Since I was raised on a steady diet of The Oprah Winfrey Show, I was often exposed to gender diverse people through Oprah’s interviews with them. Although these conversations were always novel, to me, they never felt wrong or impossible. Little ten-year-old me thought: Of course there are men with uteruses. Of course some women used to have penises. I wasn’t freaked out by any of it. Gratefully, neither were my parents, and I was able to have very open conversations about it all with my mom.
She had always done her best to help me feel safe to express myself in whatever way I needed to. Neither she nor my dad discouraged me from being friends with the boys, or wearing more masculine clothes. They weren’t bothered by me being the boy when I played make-believe with my sister and friends, and they didn’t mind that many of my friends and teachers gave me male nicknames over the years. Even when I started to write male characters almost exclusively, they didn’t get annoyed.
My mother, did, however, instill a very strong sense of girl power in me from an early age. I was overweight and taller than everyone else from day one, so my mom did her best to help me to feel confident in my own skin. She called me an “Amazon woman” for as long as I can remember, told me to use my feminine powers “for good and not evil,” and taught me about feminine divinity. She helped me to celebrate every stage of puberty; every way my body changed was another step toward Womanhood, and I was trained to be thrilled about it.
For most of my life, I think I was pretty comfortable with all of that. I still am, I suppose. I really enjoy traditionally feminine aesthetics, and many days I enjoy my feminine curves, and putting on makeup and jewelry. I still feel strongly connected to this image of the “Amazon woman” that my mom presented, and I’m still happy and confident with the way that I look… on the days that the gender dysphoria isn’t there. Continue reading “Prodigy or Parody?”