I was always one more apt to play with the boys. We shared the same interests (football, climbing trees, sword fighting, Sega Genesis) and there was always a very good chance that you’d find identical grass stains on the knees of our jeans. So when they were allowed to go without a shirt at the swimming pool, or wear pants instead of dresses to church, I would always wonder why I couldn’t do the same. Embarrassing as it is to admit, I was that girl who would stand in front of my mirror and strike poses. Not like the Madonna, “Strike a Pose” look…more like the “stand-there-in-my-jeans-shirtless-and-flex-my-non-existant-pecs-and-biceps” pose. I absolutely abhorred playing with Barbie dolls and the color pink. I still do dislike Barbies, though I’m slightly more open to pink if I absolutely must. But at that younger age, you can still get by with being one of the boys on the playground.
Things like more masculine interests only seem to cause issue when you’re supposed to grow out of that “phase”.
But what if it isn’t a phase at all? What if the kids that parents try to mold into these acceptable gender roles are really quite happy with the company they keep and the interests they have?
I consider myself among the lucky in that my family has been supportive of the activities I find appealing, even if they tend to fall into the more masculine category. They never made me feel different or wrong for not being like the majority of my cis-gendered female peers. They never told me to stop being who I was. And you know, I’m not perfect—no one is. I have had my share of ups and downs like everyone else, no matter how you identify. But how I express myself, through my clothes or hobbies has no bearing on the individual I have become. Therefore, I’d like to send a message to these parents who are so set on sticking their children into the limited realm of gender roles:
Kids are kids. Whether your boys play with footballs or dolls, or your girls done bow-ties or bangles—they’re your children. Support them and do not just label who they are as a “phase” to be gone through.
Worst case scenario, they’ll end up like me: a big ol’ butch. And you know what, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing; I’m pretty fucking awesome just as I am.