I’ve always been a tomboy, when I grew up we were already learning to accept trans* people which also led to some confusion, for others. Gender identity is a complex concept and highly individual, and every person is 100% correct in their own truth.
Pushing an identity on me, that is not mine
Several health professionals, teachers and individuals tried to be accepting of something they struggled to understand by placing a truth that was not my own, on me. It’s fortunate that they were so accepting of a child whom they believed to be trans*. While it is unfortunate that they in pursuit of showing acceptance tried to push an identity that was not mine on me. I am a tomboy, not trans*.
Gender identity or gender expression?
One of the biggest problems I feel many have, and I have been offended because of it, is that most don’t understand the difference between gender identity and gender expression. To make it simple I’ve looked up the definitions of these terms;
a person’s perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex.
the way in which a person expresses their gender identity, typically through their appearance, dress, and behaviour.
Simple enough, gender identity is how you feel. Expression is how you choose to express this identity. I am a tomboy and I identify as a female. However, I choose to present myself in what is stereotypically a more masculine way. Still that does not take away my femininity.
Break self-imposed gender roles and stereoytypes
Growing up and to this date I’ve often had to defend my femininity, not just to individuals, but to health professionals. I realise that those people, mostly mean no harm, they just direct their support at the wrong person. Thankfully, I have always been very certain of who I am, and believe that my sense of self has grown even stronger because of having to defend it constantly.
My question is; when did it stop being okay to be a tomboy, when did clothes grow genitalia, when did sports become a man, when did horse riding become female?
We should strive to break our self-imposed gender roles and stereotypes, and let children be just that – children. It’s totally fine to be a boy and like to play with trucks, but it’s also fine to like dollsI would even say it’s fantastic to like both. By constricting our future generations toys and clothes, we are also constricting their thoughts and actions. We are allowing them to follow in our footsteps instead of exploring different paths.
Dare to go against what is considered normal, and be your authentic self – because soon enough we will have created a new normal.