This was written by a friend of mine several months ago and posted to their blog, which is here. I really appreciate the things they write about gender because what they have to say always resonates with me.
At first, I remembered shopping as this very privileged thing. I get to go and pick brand new things out—it was my birthday. I wasn’t going to think about the price or regret it because it’s new. I was going to indulge. I was going to dress up in new clothes that make me feel like what I want to feel like. New clothes have always been a break from the dread I often feel when rifling through my clothes, the hand-me-downs, the doesn’t-fit-right, the tell-all poor kid clothing that I have always sported. Despite the punk and hipster kids I see all around Richmond, I still don’t think looking poor is cool, maybe because I actually am poor and always have been.
But, when I get there, I can feel my illusions going away. I remember when I liked shopping: when I “was” feminine. When I was rejoicing because my days of looking and feeling like a boy were finally “over.” It took some time, but I’ve come back into what I accept as what has always been my identity. I forgot that shopping for clothes reminds me that I do not and will not fit into type a or type b. That there is no type, and for the life of me, I can’t even define my whole identity to myself. So how am I supposed to rifle through these endless racks of frilly colorful cuts, mostly dresses, piles of heels, and oh yeah, my favorite: jewelry.
Fuck. I walk around, trying to remember what I like. Sometimes I can be into dresses. Maybe? I grab one that looks cute, or I mean, it’d be cute on someone. Then I wander around looking mournfully at the selection. I can’t find a single shirt anything short of feminine with a capital F. I can’t find a single “mens” shirt that would fit my scrawny ass, either. They might as well have put a sign on the door, queers not welcome. Luckily, I come across the ‘basics’ section, grab a t-shirt and a few tank tops and call it a trip. Money well spent?
Lately it’s been really goddamn hard for me to figure out how I’m feeling about gender. It brings up stressful questions. I remember when I decided to come out as genderqueer and crying from relief and fear. I knew I had never fit into ‘woman,’ but now what was there? Who would have my back on issues specific to me? This has been a lasting question as I have found very few people reaching out to support or even acknowledge this as something that’s difficult and scary. And now, I struggle to tell people to stop wedging me into ‘woman.’ Most of the time I don’t, but hopefully eventually I’ll be able to.
Don’t even get me started on pronouns.