Gender identity is a rather new concept to me: when I was growing up, you had two components: your biological sex and your sexual orientation. That was it.
Honestly, it’s still that way for most of society. Gender identity—whether it be trans, gender fluid, non-binary, or somewhere on a spectrum—is still largely regarded as being something wrong. Confusion. That sort of thing.
For me, learning more about gender identity was a revelation. Learning that there were options. Which sounds crazy when you think about it, but it’s like wearing clothes your whole life that aren’t quite right. You get used to it, but then when you put something on that fits, it changes everything. The light goes on.
That’s what it has been for me.
People who were trans were, in my mind, simply gay and took it another step. That’s how ignorant I was. Full stop. And that’s much of what we see with the reaction to Caitlyn Jenner. Or, as most people still insist, Bruce. As though we can’t own our own names.
It’s difficult to explain, so I generally don’t. I hide it. I don’t want every conversation around dress or makeup or something like that to have to have the caveat that I happen to be heterosexual if we’re basing things off of biological sex. I don’t know how to talk about that quite yet, as I don’t want to denigrate the gay community in any way. I don’t feel like coming out and talking about my sexual orientation is fair, as though there’s something socially required in being hetero. At the same time, I don’t want to perpetuate misconceptions, either.
In other words, I don’t know what to do. So I sit here, typing away in my apartment, wearing a dress and having painted toenails. It takes someone brave to stand out, to put up with the repercussions of being oneself. I’m not that strong of a person. Or if I have that strength, I haven’t found it quite yet.
No, my identity—in any respect—isn’t any of anyone’s business. At the same time, I see the stares, I hear the whispers, even over very minor things. I’m not ready to be a walking pamphlet.
Not yet, at least.