Gender Play

No one questions whether I am male or female. I may have been mistaken for a guy once when my head was shaved… a 12 year old boy, perhaps. I would find such a mistake laughable, simply because I am very comfortable with my identity as a female. I have never had to battle to be seen as a girl. I get the rights and the discrimination that comes with the “girl” label. Any gender play has always been a choice on my part. That choice is precisely what makes it “play.”

I also know that, for some, there is nothing playful about their gender presentation. It is a battle each and every day to present the way that they feel most comfortable in their soul, which often then makes them an object of scorn, or at least a curiosity, in the rest of the “correctly” gendered world. People can be cruel. They want others to fit neatly inside their categories, to play by their rules. Those who can’t, or won’t, are highly suspect, as they destabilize gender for everyone else.

And why, exactly, is that so scary? Why do we demand to know if someone is “really” a man or a woman? What difference does it make? And what makes someone a real man? Genitals? Because I consider trans-men to be men, whether they have had genital reconstruction or not. Where is that line? Where is the shift from play to reality?

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