What are boys made out of? What are girls made out of?
This is something that I’ve thought about a lot, not only throughout this semester as I began to write for this column, but various times throughout my life when I was faced with decisions that would drastically affect the perception that others had on myself, my gender and my sexuality.
I eventually learned that we hold no specific set of traits that really demonstrate our gender, just like how as people we all have our own distinct qualities that separate ourselves on a very basic level. Even interests such as the music we listen to and the clothes we wear—those are all things that we still interpret and feel in our own way.
We are all inevitably ourselves.
But by living according to the standards of our society and by the judgment of our peers, we still struggle to try and fit in somewhere. We label ourselves to show alignment, to show strength and to believe that we are not so alone because we possess feelings that only we ourselves know how to feel.
At the beginning of the year, I began to debate if I wanted to transition into becoming a girl; whether or not pills, surgery or simply the clothes I wear would determine that outcome, I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that I was at a loss for who I was.
Simply, I don’t feel right being a boy or calling myself one. When people say that it feels like the mind does not fit the body, that is a somewhat accurate statement to make. Sometimes such a thing shows off in mannerisms and other perceivable actions. But for many, that feeling remains buried deep inside, rattling inside your head, making you feel emotionally strained and weak. At times you catch a reflection of yourself and you quickly delve into conflict.
You wonder why you had to be born this way, and at the very least, why can’t people at least accept who you want to become?
I’ve felt like that during moments in my life, but this past year was the first time where I’ve tried to come face to face with that feeling and actively taken steps towards accepting my body as the opposite gender. Since the inception of my column, I have done things I had never thought of doing before because of the shame that I thought would come with it. I took a step back, and realized that I needed to love myself and that those who judge should not hold me back.
I began to crossdress.
I was happy to have the support of a lot of friends, while others seemed to only avoid speaking of my habits. But whatever it is that people think of you, to be yourself is all one can really do to appreciate life and make the most of it.
Because of those actions, I’ve labeled myself as “transgender,” but I feel as if that term means both nothing and everything.
“Transgender” means nothing because I’m an individual. With ‘transgender’ already being such an umbrella term, people have implemented their own interpretation as to what being a transgender entails, and I loathe the process of explaining it or even being challenged that I’m not the person I think I am.
“Transgender” means everything because to be accepted by a community that is in the same situation as yourself helps to distinguish such clarity.
But if I have to prove myself to such a degree, are those the sort of people I want to be associated with? I don’t want to have to prove that I am human and have these feelings—that should all go without saying.
So as I still continue to discover who it is I am and what I want, I’ll disregard the labels. I know who I am and I have people around me who are honest with themselves as well. Even though they are not struggling with the same things I am, we relate at a basic human; empathy is what it takes for people to accept and love one another.
I am a girl who has been confined to the body of a boy. Mentally I can believe that, but my physical self shows otherwise. I struggle with the steps I wish to take, but I know that with every step I’m becoming more honest with myself, which is the most important thing to do with as a transgender or any other person of any orientation.
Boys and girls, they’re made out of the experiences they gain. The things they feel, the people they meet. They’re made out of the things they love, and the things they hate, but most importantly, they’re made out of their own perceptions of themselves.
So no matter who people tell you who you are, stand proud and be whoever you believe you are, whether that be a boy, girl or anything else.