When I was in Kindergarten, when we would play house; I was always the boy. Either the husband, dad, the boyfriend, brother etc. What ever male role needed to be filled, I was glad to play it. This was met with absolutely no disdain from any of my girl friends. None of us wanted to add any “real boys” into our world. I did the job just fine. In a way this role for me has never changed. Of course I am no longer rocking white stockings and jumpers (thanks mom and dad) but in many ways I still play that masculine role. And the women in my life still don’t mind.
I suppose this admission would lead someone who did not know me very well or had never met me into assuming that I identified as Transgender. Hell who am I kidding, after meeting me most people either assume that I am or none the wiser still, assume that I’m some straight dude. But you see I am neither. Just like in the games of House I played as a little kid, I have always liked playing the role of “man” but I’ve never wanted to make it a permanent life choice. There is no part of me that has ever felt like I needed to change any part of myself medically to show who I truly am. That is absolutely not saying that those who do are wrong for it. I live a life that is much closer to that of a trans man than that of a lesbian. My respect for the trans community is strong as shit. Period. What I am getting at here is that some of us fall in an area where labels don’t do much.
I am aware that when I step out of my apartment most of the world is seeing a man. Or in my case a 13 year old boy who just had a serious growth spurt. #whatevs. I have always felt on the outskirts of my less queer more lesbian friends when we all get together. This feeling used to be that of resentment. That feeling of wanting to look like everyone else in the club. Hell that feeling of wanting to be recognized as gay. You gay femmes get mad because you get looked over for looking too straight? Well guess who else is in that club. Lesbians think I’m someones gay guy best friend at the bar, or some creepy straight guy trying to kick it to some gay chick and her girl. Sometimes I want to wear every shirt I save for PRIDE every god damn day. As I have grown up though I have grown into myself. I had to.
Nature vs. Nurture it seems will always be a constant argument. I personally think that it is a combination of both that leads to who we all ultimately turn out to be. Nature, made me six foot one. Nature gave me size 14 feet (stfu). Nature gave me a pretty flat chest and otherwise boyish body. Nurture told me from a very young age being gay was nothing different than being straight. My mom sat me down when I was about 5 and read me a fully illustrated book about how babies were made. 1. I freaked the fuck out. 2. I became gay. The end. No really. That is exactly the moment when Nina Pogensky became a big old fag. I saw that penis and was OUT…I am only partially joking here. That moment was icing on the you are a homo cake.
I didn’t have a normal coming out experience. I grew up in a dope town where the only thing that would get you ostracized was admitting to being a Republican. My coming out happened later when I started dressing more like a guy. I had always been a bit boyish, but up until my Junior year of high school I still wore skirts. Really. Short. Skirts. Laugh all you want, I dont know if you’re aware but my legs are KILLER. But than there came this point in time where I was like, this shit is not comfortable, and I’m getting attention from dudes and I so don’t want it. So I gradually started adding boys clothes into my wardrobe. And than slowly something else happened. I started feeling better about myself. I looked in the mirror before going out and it all clicked. This was how I wanted to present myself to the world. When I took my clothes off I was the same girl I had always been. I liked my female body and I liked the masculine way I dressed it up. It was a perfect harmony for me.
I am blessed to have amazing friends, and a very liberal supporting family. They took my changes, embraced them, and complimented them. The world wasn’t and still isn’t as kind. I have adopted my own way of dealing with society. It goes something like: Nina you da illest, if someone doesn’t like you because you happen to be dressed like a guy they can check themselves at the I don’t give a fuck door and move on. Seriously. If I could change every ignorant mother fuckers mind I would…but uh I’m not the ignorance doctor. There really are some battles that are not worth fighting. I love those who allow me in with all of my heart, those who chose to bring negativity and hate into my life can exit swiftly.
It is extremely easy to tell someone to develop a tough skin. It is a completely different matter for someone who has to be faced with homophobes daily to just put on a happy face and be honky dory. But seriously. I do promise anyone reading this, that you are in total control of developing a mindset that will uplift you while at the same time enable you to block out people who are too uneducated and essentially worthless for you to allow to break you in any way.
I was not always able to look in the mirror and understand who I was. I saw so many things. Some of those things I was proud of, and others I could not fucking stand. We all go through those moments. Gay, straight, trans, we all have days where we look at ourselves and think why. It is called being human. It is an equalizer. Across the board we will all judge ourselves at some point. I am my harshest critic. It is for that reason that I can not allow anyone elses harsh words to break me down.
Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign showcases a slogan that I think we all can get behind. Some days are harder than others, some days things make absolutely no sense. Some days there are a thousands questions and absolutely no answers. But than other days, it gets so much better. Life is worth living. It is not always fair or easy. But it is worth it. Finding who you are and embracing that person is the most important thing that you can do for yourself. Screw everyone else. When you find love for yourself you will be absolutely amazed by how many other people will find love for you as well. Do not ever make excuses for who you are. Play what ever role you want. And if you wake up tomorrow and you no longer want to play that role chose another one. But god damn it live. You owe that to yourself.