Posted tagged ‘gender’

Is That Even a Thing?

November 14, 2011

On Sundays, Amy gets Jane dressed for church, while I get myself dressed.  This arrangement usually works out pretty well, with the exception of the time she dressed Jane in jeans and a long sleeve bunny tee.  For church.  Uh…

This past Sunday, Jane was wearing a blue dress with flowers and butterflies and pink leggings.  Adorable. I made a mental note to congratulate Amy later on putting together such a cute outfit, since I was so distracted by practicing my Scripture reading for the service that I probably would have taken her to church in her pjs.  

We got to church early (like 40 minutes early–which is totally typical for us), and Amy pulled Jane up into the front seat with us while we sat in the parking lot so I could read through the Scripture AGAIN.  I read it aloud to Amy and Jane (they both thought I did great), and I finally relaxed enough to look at my sweet girls.  

And then I noticed that Jane’s dress was on backward.

I decided to broach the topic carefully, “Um, honey, I think Jane’s dress is on backward.”

“No. Look.  The buttons are in the back.”

Now I am starting to giggle… “Yeah, but didn’t you notice that they are kind of ornate?  And they have ruffles around them.  They  totally go in the front. Yeah, and it looks backward.”

“I didn’t even know that was a danger!  Now I have to worry about putting her dress on backward!”

My poor Amy.  After all these years, she is having to learn about being a girl for the sake of her daughter.  That, right there, is some kind of love.





March 28, 2009

Today, I decided to provide a boost to our economy by …. wait for it… shopping. Okay, okay. It wasn’t some sort of altruistic decision to help our country as much as it was a craving for new clothes. I mean, the clothes make the man…er, woman… right?

The feeling of buying new clothes was nothing short of intoxicating. During this current phase of self-exploration, I have unearthed a desire to be alternately flirty and bold. I desire, with all of the longing that that word conjures, to feel sexy. Sometimes that means sexy-coy; sometimes it means sexy-funky. Primarily, though, I want to be saucy… in my words, my dress, my attitude. I am finding a new level of self-assuredness, and I want my style to reflect my discovery.

Plus, you know, there is that whole boosting the economy bit… Just doing my part.

Gender Play

March 16, 2009

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?

To recreate as I choose…

March 7, 2009

Just returned from Anything But Safe (a conference on gender and sex), which was awesome. Way too much time has lapsed since I gave sex much of a thought. I have sex. But I have not considered recently what I want sex to be, what it can be once I release my preconceived notions of propriety and acceptable desire.

Moreover, gender fluidity isn’t something I consider… primarily because I identify as a “woman” and then move on to the next topic. But there is no binary “male” and “female.” I am a queer, and as such I already defy the binary. But do I cling to certain behaviors, certain thoughts because I believe they mirror the “female” instead of being concerned about whether or not they mirror who I am? Interesting thoughts to consider, to deconstruct…

But what I truly walked away with is the desire, no… the need, to speak my truth. When I get real, when all of the pretense is stripped away, who am I? What does my voice offer to the discourse on religion, politics, gender, and sexuality that can truly reach people, that can offer alternative ways of seeing and experiencing the world?

I am a lesbian. I am a Christian with Buddhist leanings. I am an alcoholic. None of these labels define me completely. But they are pieces of me. They are truths. They are mine to embrace or discard as I choose. I am mine to recreate as I will.*

*These thoughts and ideas were inspired by the fabulous Kate Bornstein, who spoke tonight at Anything But Safe.