My Gender Memoir
Despite being born and raised in Northern Carolina characterized with liberal politics coupled with conservative religious norms, I was pretty lucky as my parents put more emphasis on good education and accomplishment. They often believed that nothing could stop me from going to the university and having a good career in the end. Moreover, they were hopeful that I have a family of my own although they didn’t push me. My parents were also hopeful that I would not date until I completed high school because they believed it was crucial to chase my personal goals first. From kindergarten to the 8th grade, I never raised questions about my gender. I loved dresses and liked playing with toys and dolls. Growing up together with my elder brother as well as my male cousins gave me the opportunity to access building sets and toys at all times.
My parents encouraged us to participate in outdoors play as often as possible. In particular, my dad emphasized the importance of exploring the adventure to learn more about animals and plants. My elder brother was somehow disadvantaged growing up together with two sisters. There were few instances when girls and boys were treated differently. For instance, only boys grew to become pursue priesthood and only boys were allowed to become altar servers during Mass. In fact, that was my first instant of absolute discrimination. During those days, the society had boy jobs as well as girl jobs. Most often, girls trained to become nurses, secretaries or teachers. They could as well have chosen to become electricians or doctors, but they knew it would be a hard terrain for them to travel. On the contrary, boys never experienced safety fears compared to girls. Boys could come home late and never be asked, but girls who tried doing so were seen as inviting rape or pregnancy upon themselves. In fact, girls who attempted going home late were branded sluts.
During childhood, I would say I was lucky as my goals were not in any way constrained by my gender. Moreover, I did not chafe hard at behavior rules, appearance rules, or the expectations that people had about me. However, I knew there were people who did and life turned unfair to them somehow. I sympathized with those young men who were constantly mocked by team coaches and teachers and made to demonstrate their manliness. Nome of my teachers scorned me for being too much into academic or not taking interest in sports. Undoubtedly, I do not remember wanting to be a boy at any one time. Perhaps it is because I grew up with my elder brother and my male cousins. One day I got curious about how it felt like peeing while standing up, but because I could not succeed in that endeavor, I forgot about it soon. My sexual orientation was laughably simple, but I loved boys since when I was five years old.
I am relatively different from other women as I am a reserved and quiet person who has always maintained one confidante and best friend. That person has been a male partner through the years, so I have never developed any female bonding or some sense of sisterhood like many girls do. Maybe it is a loss to me, but being solitary is my nature. I am more cerebral and accomplishment-oriented, a trait that is most common in men. That is perhaps the biggest problem with most academia types. They rarely form united clans as they are never social enough. Thus, I never gave a hoot about my birth gender or that of others. Except for instances of oppression and discrimination based on gender. I treated all people of any gender and age as human beings. I was careful with my language to avoid unwanted or unnecessary gender reference.
When I got to high school, my parents went overboard and tried to shape in a stereotypical girl. I began feeling like they were going extremely opposite of what was good for me. I was not allowed to wear makeup as well as other girlish things that my colleagues enjoyed. Moreover, my parents discouraged me from having a boyfriend. Ultimately, I felt completely discriminated as everyone else had a partner in our school. It made feel like I was unworthy or I did not deserve to be treated like a girl. Of course, I had make ups and a boyfriend, but this was supposed to be a secret, and my parents would become mad at me if they discovered. I spent most of my early years in high school wishing I had been brought up by ordinary parents. At some point, I wished that I was a boy since my parents did not seem to care much about what my elder brother was doing. I thought being a boy instead of a girl would be great as the cons of being a girl were by far too many at the time. Most girls in my class were told by their parents that it was important to start their families while they were still young and attractive.
I felt like having parents with a culture of putting more emphasis in having university degree and masters before parenting was not the best thing for me. The pressure from parents was simply unbelievable and never experienced by boys. The absence of judgement experienced by men on parenting choices made me ever wish that I was born a boy. I admired being a boy as most of them did seem to have a motivation of finishing school quickly. As a result, boys were enjoying their time in school talking about cars and other things. Girls, on the other hand, were too much into families and shopping, and I do not like any of those two. Despite whatever efforts to achieve gender equality, I always felt that there was always a male privilege.
In the end, it turned out to be a blessing to me in disguise. I realized that my parents were competent in dealing with gender and sexuality issues. Today, I feel privileged that my parents did not deeply burry gender issues into religion like most parents do. Although some people may argue that cultural gender customs are somewhat oppressive, creating a bonding within though enforcing same practices is the aim of every culture. Today, I have a feeling that personhood has won for me as I seem not to think much about my gender. I have accepted the fact that I was born as a girl and often feeling like a girl helps me a lot today.