One of the hardest parts of all my soul searching that has been hard for me is reconciling sexuality and gender. In college, everyone assumed that I was a lesbian. I felt an aversion to the word lesbian that was inexplicable and made me stay away from any club or organization that had to do with lesbians. People all around me assumed that I was a lesbian, despite me telling them I was not. I still don’t understand why no one would listen to me, but that’s not important to me anymore.
I thought maybe I was bisexual and so I went with that awhile after college but even that seemed weird and slightly wrong. Everyone in college seemed really surprised when I married a dude, but no one said anything directly to me for years. Despite tons of women stating they were lesbians in college and then marrying men, it was apparently a huge shock for everyone when I did it.
I guess so much of it was that I wasn’t even remotely feminine. I had short hair throughout college, I dressed mainly in men’s clothes, and I had an aversion to anything feminine. Maybe they saw through the facade I was trying to put up, even if they didn’t fully understand what exactly I was trying to block out.
I have never felt gay. It was so natural to me to be with women and I felt myself turn on an almost misogynistic attitude. Chivalrous I think I thought I was being back in college. But I tapped into conditioning that was faulty and wrong and made me act like a jerk for a long time. In my head, I knew what my biology was but what I saw and felt and did was completely masculine. At a women’s college, gender wasn’t something that really came up between us. Although I knew several people who did transition after college, at the time I knew them they were avid lesbians, which I never was.
I think about that often. I’m in some social media groups with people who did make a stop at the lesbian station on the trans train ride. I never did and I still feel myself cringe internally when people say the word lesbian. Gay is fine and doesn’t make me feel that way, although I don’t consider myself to be homosexual at all. The world does, I guess, but in my head, I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I am a heterosexual male. Unfortunately born in the wrong body.
It’s really upsetting to see all of these people argue about how no one can be born in the wrong body; that it’s a lack of trying or it’s parents pushing it on the child. It’s mental illness or some kind of possession by demons. I can admit that I never tried as a child, but mainly because I didn’t see a reason to. Puberty was so depressing that I didn’t have the energy to even try to fit in with where my biology said I was supposed to fit in. After puberty I did start trying a little bit, but only because I felt like I had no choice anymore. I wasn’t fitting in and it was starting to become isolating socially. I didn’t want to be left behind or be alone with no friends for the rest of my life. At one point, a guy friend that everyone liked so I liked him too, told me what was wrong with me. “All you wear is soccer shorts and sneakers, and t-shirts. You should try to wear other, more girly clothes.” So I did. I was uncomfortable in the clothes he wanted me to wear. I can write an entire blog post on the damage I endured from this “friend” but that will have to be another day. After things heated up and cooled off with him, and then I moved away, I went back to wearing what made me comfortable. My parents wouldn’t buy me masculine clothes, so the soccer shorts and shirts, plus jeans and hoodies would have to do.
I often think about how many people wondered if I was gay in high school. I didn’t think about it at the time because I was so immersed in my own internal homophobia and spent so much time ignoring my attraction to girls and how I only seemed to connect to guys as brothers and best friends.
We as a society so such a poor job taking care of our children. We socialize them to buy into these strict roles and even worse, to shun others who don’t fit into the strictly defined categories of what is male and what is female. Some religions think women must wear only dresses and cover their knees, shoulders, and arms. Some religions don’t have any kind of modesty code. Sometimes different sects of the same religion have completely different requirements. Sometimes women are encouraged to choose whatever occupation they want and other times they are forced into a limited role such as helpmeet, home maker, and not educated at all beyond a basic high school education. Men are pushed into super masculine roles, which may not fit them either. When religion is so strict that children are not given options, it ceases to be about free will and becomes all about control. I once got into an online argument with a woman who refused to educate her daughters beyond high school and most of their high school education was tied to eventually becoming a helpmeet to some “godly” man. They were only allowed to do chores around the home, particular child care. Naturally there were many children. The argument was about her sons, though. Her husband regretted not serving in the military and had decided that all of his able bodied sons would join the Army once they turned 18. This is unacceptable to me because it’s not just a nice thing to join the military and serve for 4-6 years and then get out. You are literally signing your life away in defense of this nation. You could die in combat or in training. Raising your children with the strict expectation that they should do something you regretted not doing is wrong. It is wrong, no matter what it is, but most definitely in this situation where you are forcing children to believe they have to put their lives on the line because you chose not to do that.
That woman and I never came to any sort of agreement on that because I will not bend on it. I still, all these years later, will not bend on it. There’s nothing right about putting your regrets on your children and forcing them to be something that you didn’t do when given the choice. Removing choice from your children when you had all the choices in the world is wrong.
I have wandered away from my main point though and so I will stop there. I’m not gay and I was never gay or a lesbian, no matter what everyone else thought.
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