When I first came out as transgender, before even transitioning and the person who gave birth to me found out, her first response was to tell me that there were no signs that I ever wanted to ‘be a boy’. Throughout the years since, she has reaffirmed this through many things she has said. She has called me a liar, about being trans. She has pointed out I am not like the people on Maury who are trans (to which I replied, “thank goodness”).
Some of her arguments have an ableist slant:
“You only date females because males have always been mean to you because of your disability.”
(Ignoring the fact that females were often much crueler to me and most of my good friends were actually males).
Others are just preposterous. My brother told a Toledo TV station on Twitter I was using the name Dominick to scam people out of money. My Twitter community, including my friend, Danny Brown, backed me up and told him nobody who knew me believed that. I had never hid my trans status and to say otherwise was sheer ignorance.
Of course, everything goes back to my childhood and how few signs there are apparently were when I was growing up. When I look back at my childhood I see a much different story.
I see a child who had other challenges going on, always felt different, but always assumed it was because of their physical disability. I see a child who “admired” a lot of females: Fergie, Kim Cattrall, She-Ra. Of course admire was a person unfamiliar with same-sex attraction’s way of saying I found them hot!
At the time, I believed I was a female because that is was society told me I had to be. It was never how I truly felt. It didn’t come until I was in my 20s before I had the knowledge and understanding to verbalize long held internal feelings.
Looking back, I can point out all of the things I did that appear stereotypically male…i.e. looking more comfortable in my brother’s hand me downs…
….than in the fancy dresses my mother wanted me to wear.
I can point out I had a love for Burt & Ernie more than any other on Sesame Street characters (even owning some Burt and Ernie dolls).
I liked trucks, cars, transformers, He-Man, and riding bikes. I liked to swim, play baseball, kickball, and other sports with my grandpa.
My best friend was a boy. We were inseparable in the summer.
My grandma made me a train cake just like my brother, one year, for my birthday…and I loved it!
I *still* like riding my wheelchairs and scooters rough and driving quick, popping wheelies and taking chances.
All of these things are perceived to be male-oriented. At the same time, I am supposed to ignore another side of me….
…the side that liked My Little Pony. My grandma made me a MLP cake, too. I loved it just as much as my train cake!
…the side that played with dolls and liked making ice cream in their Barbie ice cream maker.
…the side that liked purple.
…the side that kept my hair long and my ears pierced (let’s face it, little girls with short, thin hair, tend to look better with longer hair – or at least I did).
I cannot ignore either side of me. I also cannot ignore the fact that transitioning to male has made me happier than nearly ANYTHING in my life. I am who I am, regardless of the stereotypically masculine or stereotypically feminine things I have done or will do, in my life.
Why does My Little Pony strictly have to be for girls? Bronies have proven boys can like ponies, too.
Why does playing with cars and trucks strictly have to be for boys? My dad had a few collector matchbox cars he kept on his dresser. When I was home sick from school, I’d play with them on his dresser, even though he would have killed me for touching them. I lovingly played with them, with utmost care (even the Pepsi truck – I am a Coca Cola fan, though), because I was drawn to them.
Today, I still love Burt and Ernie, and My Little Pony, Transformers, GI Joe, and Rainbow Brite. This eclectic mix of perceived femininity and masculinity make me who I am…a strong person unafraid to appear any way but how I am.
Why should I be ashamed I played with ponies or dolls, Barbie ice cream makers, or She-Ra? If I hadn’t transitioned, I’d still be happy to say I loved trucks and cars, baseball (still LOVE it), He-Man, transformers,and a slew of other ‘masculine’ things.
We try to pigeonhole our boys into avoiding pink, purple, anything overly feminine, or emotional.
We try to keep our girls soft, sweet, pink-loving and avoid the rough and tumble.
Why? Who decides what is masculine and feminine, but why? Why must we all like the same things and follow the same rules? It hardly makes us the unique people we are…were meant to be.
No matter what, I’m going to like purple. Maybe it isn’t my favorite color anymore, but I appreciate it for what it is and what liking it says about me…
I’m a human with excellent taste.