I was always confused kid. When I wasn’t questioning my sexuality, I was questioning my gender. By the time I was fifteen, I figured out I was pansexual. Yet, I suppressed my thoughts and confusion about my gender identity. At the time, I only knew that there was male and female and then people who transitioned from one to the other. I didn’t feel like a girl...so did that make me a boy?I was a typical tomboy and rejected many aspects of femininity. I wore basketball shorts and t-shirts with my hair always in a ponytail. I hated my chest and the rest of my body.
I’d look down/ Seeing something foreign/ Disappointment overwhelmed me/ Why couldn’t this body feel like mine?/ Why couldn’t my face feel like it belonged in this place?
[caption id="attachment_31216" align="alignright" width="350"] Illustration by Paulina Ortega[/caption]
To reject my femininity, I decided to cut my long hair “boy short” junior year of high school. It felt like a weight off my shoulders, literally. Cutting my hair was the start of exploring fashion as a form of self expression. Ravaging through thrift stores to find clothes to represent myself, I thought I'd end up with dark colored t-shirts and pants. But I discovered that wearing clothes with wacky patterns and light "feminine" colors made me happy. Slowly, I realized that being feminine wasn’t as repulsive as I thought. I always had a “hippie” side and I finally began to dress like it. I wore long beaded earrings, sandals, flowy colorful shirts, and switched from using backpacks to my Mexican purse. People often told me I looked like a hippie lesbian mom and I loved it! But what was going on??! I thought I was a transgender. I liked being “girly” but I still didn’t feel like a girl! Everyone around me seemed to fit into their gender roles without questioning it. I thought I was crazy and just making up problems for myself. I already had this little-known sexuality, so why did I want to add more things to set me apart from everyone else?
There were too many nights/ Where I slept with dried up tears/ Yet,I would wake up with no crust around my eyes/ Perfectly fine/ Last night, never existed.
One afternoon while scrolling through my Instagram timeline I saw the term That’s it! I thought. Finally a word to describe me. But after an initial wave of relief, I started to feel disheartened. It seemed like the people who identified as genderfluid were really good at presenting themselves alternating in their gender expression. I felt like a fraud calling myself genderfluid, because my appearance rarely gave an external look to the way my internal gender felt. I didn’t wake up in the morning and think, I feel like a boythen proceed to dress ‘like a boy.’ Then I was introduced to another term I liked this, because I could completely remove myself from the gender binary of woman - man. I contemplated my identity, juggling back and forth between genderfluid and non-binary. To me, being genderfluid was a feeling, not a term to describe who I am. It’s like saying you’re tired. Being tired isn’t who you are as a person, but a feeling you have due to outside circumstances like lack of sleep or work overload. When I call myself non-binary, it’s just the other option. If I’m filling out a checkbox and they ask male or female? It’s neither, the other is non-binary. So I’ve decided to be both and neither. It feels right to just say I’m a person. No label, no name. I spent so long trying to search for a label, yet I ended up taking solace in not having one.
Support the Next Generation of Content Creators
Invest in the diverse voices that will shape and lead the future of journalism and art.