When I was younger my grandpa would take me to Home Depot and I would run directly towards the aisles that had all of the doors and doorbells on display. I loved opening and closing the different doors, ringing doorbells to imaginary houses in an imaginary world that I had cooked up. Yes these were doors that led to nowhere and no matter how persistently I rang those bells no one would come answer. Yet it didn’t matter. This was my world and in it I could and go as I wanted.
Now at 23 I feel the same way about my gender. The doors I open these days have more weight. When I’m out I have to make the conscious decision whether or not to open the door of the men’s room, or the woman’s room. In my mind I tell myself over and over that no man realizes my feet turned towards the door as I pee squatting down in the usual one and only seedy mens room stall. I tell myself they don’t see the missing bulge in my pants. The lack of Adams apple or stubble.
Sometimes I stare at the door of women’s rooms and wish I could enter. Yet I know that to a female a bathroom is sacred. It is a place for makeup and gossip. It is not the place for a man or in my case a woman in men’s clothing – a sheep in wolfs clothes.
But I am as much a woman as I am a man. I am neither, I am in between. To those who don’t know me they see a young man. My height and my shoe size are deceptive. Never mind my shaved head and my apparel. When I look in the mirror I see a person who took twenty two years to emerge. Something inside me was always more masculine, but my face, my long slender fingers, my high cheekbones and my laugh they gave away a flirtatious girl. Sure to grow into her lanky arms and legs and giant smile. Sure to dangle off the arm of some charming and dapper man one day. Yet surely enough, that dapper man is who she dreamed to be.
Gender isn’t talked about much when you’re growing up, or in mainstream society much at all for that matter. Girls and boys are put into boxes from an early age, you are pink or you are blue. Sex is discussed, it is over analyzed. You take sex ed, you are educated and that’s it. A few years later you will meet the man or woman of your dreams, you’ll have kids and that will be that. But what about those kids in that health class who are wondering what sex with someone of the same sex is like? What about those kids who are wondering what sex will be like for them at all? Because they were born in the wrong body or aren’t a girl or a boy. That was me. Not only did I not want a husband but I certainly didn’t want to be a housewife. I did however like the idea of those two figures merging.
And now they have. My body has always felt right, but my pronouns and my name always felt entirely wrong. I have friends coming out and living their lives as transgender all around me. I identify with so many of their anxieties, feel so many of their truths, yet I know that we are not the same. We are fraternal twins sharing some of the same traits but we are not identical.
My brain is not confused. It is not searching for a pink or a blue blanket. My brain is just as its always been happiest opening as many different doors as possible. Playing with gender the way I once played with doorbells. I’d like to think that I have found my perfect doorbell though. I’ve been waiting all of my life for the one that sounded just right.
* This piece is part of an ongoing series by trans, gender queer, and gender non conformist for Work Those Pecs.
Work Those Pecs