A post on CrossdreamedLife got me thinking…
Do I want to be a girl because I like girly things? Or am I already a girl inside and that’s why I like girly things?
The forum thread had some great responses talking about nature vs. nurture, and some folks looking back on their younger years for signs that they were always female and maybe didn’t know it.
I’m going through that same sort of search myself.
I want there to be some clear sign that I always wanted to be a girl. But if I’m honest, I know this isn’t true.
As of today, I’m inclined to believe that I spent my childhood mostly indifferent to the notion of socially appropriate gender preferences, activities, or expressions. Possibly with the exception of long hair, makeup, and wearing skirts/dresses.
From what I can remember, I had a balanced group of male and female friends. And we would all play house or dolls one day, and another play tag or ride bikes and climb trees.
It really wasn’t until 4th or 5th grade where the genders started to keep to their own groups.
I always felt like I was a bit of a loner, even though I had a group of best friends (mixed male/female until I was about 7, then exclusively male). I played some sports, though it wasn’t my favorite thing to do. I played war and superhero and action figures. I played video games and tinkered with machines and computers. I look back and despite wanting to see more signs that I wanted to be a girl… if I’m honest, I was a pretty “normal” nerdy young boy.
I was an excellent student and loved art, music, and drama. Even joined the school choir. To be honest, it was because one of my friends thought it would be a great way to meet girls. And for him it was. But I was very shy, and my voice hadn’t changed yet, while he’d already hit puberty. So I was more ‘one of the girls’ than potential boyfriend. I may have had a mild crush or attraction on someone, but it was definitely prepubescent non-sexual attraction at that point.
After middle school, I went to an all-boy high school. So I do think my notions of masculine and feminine norms are more warped by books, movies, music, and tv than the average person.
I just remember that it wasn’t until college sometime that I felt that I was in the wrong body with any regularity. Growing up, I’d say 99% of the time I assumed that I was a boy. And there were just a handful of times where I thought of myself as a girl. I would say those times carry a lot of emotional weight because I can still remember them 40+ years later.
Today I feel that I want to be a woman, not because I like stereotypically female things, because I don’t — not exclusively anyway. It’s just who I am.
And for the record, I do like some stereotypically female things. But I think I like just as many stereotypically male things. So I would say my interests reflect who I am as a person, and I don’t feel I need to use them to justify my gender identity, which is what it is.
I just wish I knew what it is and would stop feeling that I’m broken because I’m not pure male or female.