gen·der /ˈjendər/ - "Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female." - Oxford Dictionary
There are two aspects of my life that have always correlated: My gender expression and my gender identity. My gender identity has developed more towards the end of this timeline but my gender expression has been consistent through my whole life. Therefore I believe it played an important role in how I wanted to be perceived, how people treated me, and how I became the person I am today.
Through this timeline, I will present artifacts over four specific time periods. Those artifacts and time periods will also correlate to a specific word, either given to me or that I have claimed. These words became identifiers got my identity.
Welcome to my life.
tomboy/ˈtɒmbɔɪ/ - A girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities traditionally associated with boys.
The first identifier was given to me by my mother. I avoided dresses like the plague. I always wanted to do the cool things that my older brother was doing like flag football or Pokemon cards. Instead, I remember crying in the dressing room while my mother strapped petit white tights to me. I remember not being able to wear swim shorts to the beach, instead I was given a pink Scooby-Doo one-piece.
I attended a private, Catholic school where we had the option to wear either jumpers/dresses or polo shirts with khaki pants/shorts. School was the only place where I found solace in my clothing because I was allowed to wear what all the boys got to wear. Of course, as a kid, I could not justify my clothing choices further than, "This is what I feel comfortable in."
Tomboy stuck to me like glue. Anything I did to go against "typical" feminine behavior, I could justify with, "Well, my mom says I'm a tomboy so it's okay." I tried really hard to express myself the way I wanted but the gender binary is strong within a Catholic household.
This also translated to school, where I was given my next identifier....
gay/ɡeɪ/ - (of a person) homosexual (used especially of a man)
During middle school and the beginning of high school, my peers gave me a new identifier. This identifier, once again, correlated to my expression. I did not recognize any kind of romantic attraction during these years, therefore I came to the conclusion that this new identifier was given to me solely on the fact that I dressed like a boy.
I did a lot of mimicking during this time. I was raised with a more feminine style of communication so I used my male peers to try and express a more masculine me. This was something I enjoyed doing. My best friend and I developed a bro code, we had a tendency to match our clothes, we shared a lot of the same interests.
All the while, my mother and I, in the background, are fighting in Sears because I won't wear girl jeans. My grandfather is asking me, "Why is your hair so short? You aren't a boy." And my brother is leaving me at home because I cling to him too much.
I tore myself away from my family because I had a best friend who didn't ask questions about what I wore or who I liked. I had a best friend who asked what kind of music I listened to as compared to why I haven't kissed a boy yet. My gender expression was consistent but being labeled "gay" really took a toll on how people treated me.
As I grew, romantic feelings developed and I had the chance to claim my very first identifier...
lesbian/ˈlɛzbɪən/ - A homosexual woman.
The first identifier I had the opportunity to claim. At this point in high school, I had developed romantic relationships with other woman. To the extent of my knowledge, a woman who dates women is identified as a lesbian. Not too complicated, right?
Well, as you can tell, my expression stayed the same. My hair might have been cut a little shorter but at this point, I had someone who accepted me and all my masculine qualities. I felt more at ease because I had more control over my identity and expression. My family had given up on trying to change me, my peers grew up and started to be more accepting. Things were really starting to look up. For a bit...
It was during my time at San Jose State University where I became exposed to transgender and nonbinary individuals. I would sit inside the Pride Center, the university's LGBT resource center, and hear peoples stories and it was from there that I start to pick up more pieces to my identity.
As I was starting to find my true identity, I was losing my lover at the exact same time. She was a woman who liked women. I was starting to, little by little, closely align my identity as a transgender man. This was something that she could not accept. To this day, I can still remember her words, "You're trying to kill the girl that I fell in love with. I miss that girl." My world shattered.
From then on, we broke up, I went into therapy and it was time to get my shattered world and put it back together. Which leads me to today...
transgender /tranzˈdʒɛndə/ - Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.
The password to the video above is: jour211. I created a password for this video because the content was not created by me, it was made for me therefore I would like to protect this creators content.