“I had a dream the other night that I was at a party and having a terrible time.”
I was, according to my peers, a girl. When analyzed, it is actually quite amazing what a handful of grumpy sixth graders can accomplish through the redefining of a few words, unknowingly reinforcing systemic and systematic heterosexism. They first looked to the patriarchal roles which women and men are intended to follow in a culture which values masculine work and disvalues the feminine. They saw that I did not fit these apparently innate structures and posited that I actually belonged in the opposite role from the one I had been assigned. Then my peers took the next step; they assigned negative connotation to not only my inability to adhere to said structures but also negative connotation to the opposite gender itself. My peers, including, and sometimes especially, my female peers, made the female gender a shameful club to belong to and disgraceful name to bear.
I never felt comfortable with those who share this sex. That is to say that I have never, until very recently, found solace, haven, or support of any kind from other men. I have been always drawn to women immediately as mentors, confidants, and childhood playmates. And until these last few years, men have primarily produced the conflict in my emotional development. It has taken twenty-two years to come to this point in the process. Twenty something years to understand my place, or displacement, in the gender web. Years to come to terms with sexual preference and certainly to feel fulfilled in spite of my inability to fill gender roles. At age twelve however, I was not as far along and still cringing at the title of girl, let alone fag.
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