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Blue Stripes

September 2012

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Blue Stripes

This spoke to me

I was just reading this, linked from the Wednesday Blogaround at Shakesville, and it really reached me. Note that this link from which I've taken the quotation is about gender-related issues, childhood bullying, and the like; be aware of your own emotional state before reading, if those are concerns for you.
Supporting Gender Variance Every Day

I knew that broadening my students’ ideas of what was acceptable for boys and girls was an important first step, but to make Allie feel comfortable and proud of herself, I was going to have to go further.

For example, as teachers, we often use gender to divide students into groups or teams. It seems easy and obvious. Many of us do this when we line students up to go to the bathroom. In one conversation that I had with Allie’s mother, she told me that Allie did not like using public bathrooms because many times Allie would be accused of being in the wrong bathroom. As soon as she told me I felt bad. By dividing the children into two lines by assigned gender, I had unintentionally made the children whose labels aren’t so clear feel uncomfortable in more ways than one.
(Note that my musings below include an offhand and non-graphic reference to "light" corporal punishment, which was still allowed when I started school as a child; also an indirect reference to suicide - again, non-graphic and personally historical reference only)

Oh yeah. I remember all too well that first day of school, ostensibly segregated by sex but sharing a yard and part of a building, and my horror and confusion when they hauled me out of the girls' line and pushed me to the boys'. I wasn't stupid, I learned quickly not to dispute that, as it only led to unhappiness and a sore hand. It didn't reflect my own reality, and my parents had that same frustrated look on their faces when the headmaster told them, because it was hardly the first time, and no one trans* needs to be told it wasn't the last.

On and on it went, all through school, the army, getting turfed, university: fighting with The Man and the parents and the school and the world, all against myself...and gradually losing, the battle against what I'd known since earliest days, that "boy/man" wasn't where I needed to live when I grew up.

Funny how people think it's a choice. If it were a choice, would I have taken that path so tenaciously? Would I have taken arms against the sea of troubles, or just let the tide carry me off to the place I never belonged, to be unhappy until I gave up?

That was the choice I faced. To be me, or not to be. Is that a choice? For some, yes. Not for me. No moral objection, just not a choice I need (as yet - one never knows what the future brings).

Comments

That link came across my twitter feed yesterday and I thought it was an excellent read.

While my growing up was not that difficult, I knew I was different but I had no idea how. Looking back it seems so much more obvious. Even now though, post transition, I'm very much a tomboy.

My mom said to me that she didn't think it was a choice. If it were a choice, why would someone choose the very difficult and oft times lonely road.

*hugs*
*hugs* to you too, beautiful.

I think I'm somewhat of a tomboy still: I play wargames, and soccer, and I rarely wear makeup or heels or hose. And I reckon that's okay, too. Sum qui sum.
I know that choice, and you're right - to be me, or not to be. Period. Pre-transition, it was like I didn't exist. I was invisible. Yes, the risk, the pain, the discrimination and abuse, all hurt; but they hurt less than the total isolation of invisibility.
Totally grokked, yes.

Funny, y'know, I realized the other day - I have absolutely NO connection to my old name anymore. I'm lucky that it's rare enough (and unpopular enough) that I encounter it very infrequently, but I really have no resonance with it at all.

Only took me twenty years. Yay! ;)