Tonight I was talking with my friend Amy who I met at SEAT*. She said something about asking for help not making me less of a man.
It’s such a “very special episode” comment that I sort of rolled my eyes. Of course it doesn’t. But I know where she was coming from. One of the hard things about being a trans guy, especially before anybody really reads you as male, is trying to pick up on the minutiae of daily life that cisgendered men are socialized with from day one. When you don’t conform to those stereotypes then you aren’t “passing” or even *trying* to pass.
But what if I don’t want to conform to what society sees as the standard for male? I only started to accept a male identity after I sat down and had a nice long discussion with myself about how being a guy didn’t mean I had to adopt the more dominant, aggressive types of masculinity. Being a guy doesn’t mean that I have to step down from a single one of my feminist ideals, my sillier characteristics, my love of baking, just like being a female didn’t meant that I wasn’t allowed to race dirtbikes, climb trees, or kick every other student’s ass in AP Chem. Just like we say “girls can do anything!” the obvious corollary to that is “boys can do anything!” The issue there is that “girls can do anything” is usually followed with “that boys can do.” When male is presented as the standard to achieve then why would anybody want to lower themselves to do, be, want, or excel at something “female”?
I know that some of my conscious decisions in life mean that society won’t so readily see me as male. But I’d so much rather live my ideals than push myself into a box to match how society things I should act.
*SEAT = Sexuality Education Advocacy Training; a conference put on by the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ, and the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism.