How did you grow up with your gender?
As a child I think I was aware I was a girl but was very much a tomboy who felt they were also a little boy (or neither). I liked playing with all children and didn’t mind if it was with dolls, cars, in mud or doctors and nurses. I also liked boys as much as I liked girls but found that kissing your best friend wasn’t ok (unless I pretended to be a boy). As much as I loved wearing dresses and pretty shoes I loved my overalls and runners (and still do). At the age of approx 7yrs my long hair was cut very short because I had nits and that was when people began to mistake me for a little boy – something easily done with children because we all look a little the same pre-puberty.
During puberty and my early teenage years I accepted my fate that I was going to develop as a girl but hated knowing I was going to be a ‘woman’. I didn’t find puberty traumatic or unpleasant, as in I wasn’t upset that my breasts developed or that I started my period (expect that I didn’t feel I needed breasts or want the cramps that came each month). My awareness of gender didn’t start until I was in high school and even then it was just a feeling of not fully belonging. By the time I started calling myself a lesbian I started becoming aware that there were other people that looked how I felt, but again I didn’t know how to get there.
My relationships and my attraction to androgyny and drag kings started pulling me out from the ‘musts’ and shoulds’ of being amongst lesbians and allowed me to feel comfortable binding my breasts and dressing how I felt (not how my gf at the time wanted me to look). By the time I started performing and being aware of trans* stuff I started not wanting to be known as a lesbian or dyke. My new pronouns of ‘they’ and labels of ‘genderqueer’ are relatively new but they feel like thay’re the right fit for me now that I have found them.