The genderqueer challenge is here.
2. How did you grow up with your gender?
I can’t believe this is only the second question; I feel like I need more of a warm-up!
I don’t really talk about my childhood and my gender just because I don’t like the idea of trying to ascribe myself a gender from the future. I have a truly shocking memory, so anything I think I remember feeling is both possibly not true and very vague, so it seems a bit pointless to me to look back in that kinda way.
However, it’s the topic of this question, so I’ll have a go anyway!
I was a bit of a ‘tomboy’ when I was young. I eschewed pretty much everything I considered ‘girly’ apart from ballet until I was in my kinda preteen years, and even then it was a very slow process to being less horrible about ‘girl’ things. I guess I was the typical internalised-misogyny child (which is why ascribing gender to past me is so difficult!); I preferred having friends who were boys, I got miffed when I was too much of a girl to do ‘boy stuff’, and I liked football. That’s pretty much all I can say about my early years.
When I was in my teens, things got a bit more confusing. I was starting to wear dresses again (although they had to be emo, of course!) and not running away from pink quite as fast, which I think was good for me, but I also had people ascribing gender and personal expression to me in a way I didn’t like; I got called a hippy for reasons unknown (as you can probably imagine, this hurt my emo soul even if hippiness described my growing morality and politics quite well) and people (on occasion) thought I was a boy. Sometimes I heard people saying it possibly-too-loud-on-purpose, and sometimes they really did just seem to not realise I could hear. Either way, I absolutely hated it.
At the same time, though (and this is where memory serves me less well), I seemed to have some kind of… boyish feelings, I guess? And this is actually where my ‘gender journey’, if you will, started, because I remember those feelings one time and figured I’d look into it. I remember thinking of myself using ‘he’ pronouns, imagining myself in situations as a boy, and that kind of thing. How that computed in my 15 year old(? possibly, maybe older or younger, who knows?) mind, though, I don’t know. It certainly makes for interesting thinking now. I guess those weird feelings dissipated or disappeared, however, because nothing else particularly gender-related started happening until I was 17, at which point I will leave this lovely story to be continued for another question.