An older man in high heels and jeans stood before me in line at the grocery store. His dangly earrings flashed against his greying beard in the harsh light as he fished around in his purse for his wallet. He wasn’t trying to be a woman, but he very obviously was comfortable blurring gender presentation in this small rural town. Attitudes are changing. People are starting to accept that gender is a spectrum, not a binary.
I grew up among lesbians when there were only two ways to be: femme or butch. I embraced femme presentation for a long time because I hated the way that butch lesbians just didn’t seem to care about themselves at all. It would be years before I saw the “dapper” style. I wanted to accessorize, wear clothes I felt sexy in, but then I started feeling uncomfortable in my femme gender role. I looked at being butch, but I wasn’t a lesbian and I just wasn’t a masculine woman. I have come to realize that I am both masculine and feminine and I don’t have to choose between them.
When my grandmother and her sisters were growing up people had fewer choices about who they could be and it was hard to change. They were mothers and wives, a secretary, a model, a sex worker. All of them were trapped in lives dictated by those choices and the society they lived in.
My grandma was always some of my best support, but also kind of judgmental too. she wanted me to do the right things, look the right way, know the things I needed to know to be a good woman. I feel that my grandmother found safety by following convention. I believe that I can only feel secure if I follow my own heart and let myself be as big as I can be. I refuse to be trapped in my life in any way. I am choosing my own happiness.
I do not feel like a boy OR a girl most of the time. I consider myself gender queer or gender fluid. Androgynous may be the word that makes the most sense to some people, but that implies a lack of gender. I am encompassing all genders! My gender is wherever I happen to be at the time. My gender is Evoë. My gender is pirate.
I know many people who have transitioned – gone from one gender polarity to another. Right now I do not feel a strong pull toward male or female, but if I do in the future I would consider making that transition. Right now I am becoming more me. Making choices based on what will truly bring happiness and satisfaction to my life strips away the irrelevant, leaving me living my truth. I am becoming more me every day.
I am not rejecting my body (because I love it!), but I am doing what I need to do to feel right in my body. I am exercising and lifting weights. I will have breast reduction surgery in a few weeks. This feels like a big step. I’ve always hated having huge breasts. It hasn’t ever felt right. My cup size is the only thing that makes me feel dysphoric on a regular basis. I feel burdened by my breasts. I don’t want to give up having breasts altogether, but I want small breasts that I can hide or put in sexy little bras depending on my mood. I need my body to reflect how I see myself.
Mostly, I don’t present as any particular gender. I pick clothes that make me happy, a huge mix of things. I hardly wear jewelry at all any more. My hair is buzzed except for a long curly bit in front. I always wanted to be bleached blonde, and I love it! I paint my toenails because I think my toes are ugly. When I feel a lot like a guy, I wear eyeliner and a jock strap. I adore bow ties. Big stompy boots go with everything. I have a lot of fun with presentation because the only person I’m trying to please is me.
Slowly, I am becoming. I am shaping my life to reflect my inner world.
That thought makes me cry because it feels so powerful. And then I laugh because it is simply marvelous. It is freeing to live according to my own compass. I do not care what anyone thinks of me, although judging by the fabulous gentleman in heels at the grocery store, people don’t really care the way my grandmother would have. I like to think that she would still support me. Her love meant the world to me, but ultimately, loving myself means more.