When I was little, my grandmother made me a pink princess costume for Halloween: a little petal pink shift, a darker pink cape that tied with a white grosgrain ribbon and was trimmed with sequins, and a pale pink satin tiara, also trimmed with sequins. I loved it. After Halloween, that costume ended up in my dress up box (a purple box with white hearts), and I played with it all the time.
Until I joined theatre in high school, all of my friends were girls. I played on the playground at recess with girls. I played jump rope. I played with dolls; I even owned a American Girl doll (Addy–at the time, she was the only American Girl doll of color). I wasn’t a tomboy. I’m still one of the least athletic people I know. Continue reading
Although I self-identify as trans, people very rarely read me as anything other than a woman. I suppose I can’t really blame them: I’m barely over five feet tall; I have child-sized hands; my shoe size is that of the average 8-12-year-old (according to Converse.com); and I’ve never had what anyone would call a boyish figure. I look distinctly female, no matter how much I’d like to pretend otherwise.
I keep my hair styled short and spiky, and I dress almost exclusively in clothing bought in guys’ section and specifically chosen to disguise anything that marks me as female. Yet, I still get called “she” and “lady” and “girl.”
It drives me crazy. I hate that I’m only seen as a woman. Continue reading
“All gender is drag,” Riki Wilchins writes, in an essay entitled “A Continuous Nonverbal Communication.” To a certain extent, I understand Wilchins’ argument. Sometimes I can even manage to treat clothing as nothing more than a costume, a way to play with the ways that people view me. At the same time, something like the Drag Ball that my college’s rugby team recently hosted complicates the issue. It becomes more than a matter of mere clothing—societal expectations and messages about who I am become tied up in the question of what I should wear. Suddenly, the question of what form of drag I’m going to wear to Drag Ball seems a matter of paramount significance to the overall question of my gender identity, and I feel overwhelmed and nearly incapable of deciding anything. Continue reading
“Legitimacy” always seems like such an important thing. In this case, it’s a question of who is “really” trans, as if there’s somehow an illegitimate form of trans identity that is separate from the “true” trans folk.
The legitimacy of my trans identity is a big insecurity for me, given that I’ve started questioning my gender at a rather late stage in my life (relatively speaking) and that I don’t have a sense of binary gender, which is the only type of gender that is generally recognized. Continue reading