01 02 03 Genderqueer Chicago: We'll make a man out of you yet 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

We'll make a man out of you yet

I have never written about this moment.
And this may be harder to read than most of our blogs.

Ive been racking my brain, trying to rationalize my need to write this down. Whether it would be a selfish act to subject the general public to such a harrowing tale?
I have decided it would be selfish not to.

I was eleven years old the day I learned what makes a man.
I was playing in the woods with my "lost boys"
j,m,b,t,and b. We had been up to our usual tricks, climbing trees and rooftops
We collected treasures from the dumpster behind my apartment and we carried them to our secret place.

I remember j and m were bickering over some bauble

I felt excluded from this adventure.
I was having a hard time keeping up.
And j was looking at me like i was some kind of alien.

Someone flipped over a wading pool and i made a move to climb under it with them.

"No girls allowed"

i am not a girl
i wanted to scream

"not again? Come on. I..."
"my dad asked if you were my girlfriend."
"He says theres something weird about you..."
"youre weird" it was true
"He says girls shouldnt wear boys clothes."
"I like my clothes"
I look down at my ninja turtles t-shirt and jeans.

"Have you ever kissed a boy before?"
"Have you?"
The hit came fast.
I had broken the unspoken rule. Never question a pre adolescents sexuality. He may only feel inclined to prove you wrong.

"Come here"
my best friend beckoned from under the pool. m and j were crouched in their fort. b,t, and b wandered over slowly sensing that something was happening.

"I want to show you something"


They each took a turn
proving to me, that I was, indeed different.
I went away.
I told myself, over and over that it was just a dream.

My swollen lip, and the sting n my cheek brought me back.
Choking back tears, and choking on his proof.
my hand held fast above my head.
I didnt cry out.
boys dont cry.
the weight over me.
I did cry out.

go home little girl.

It was some time before I understood the complete truth of that afternoon.

An attempt by five little shits to prove to me that I was different.
Well done. I am more man than you will ever be.
It doesnt take a man to rape. Being fucked doesnt make you a woman.

I have felt some element of that afternoon in every day of my life.
And I have overcome it.

I have trusted. I have loved. I have been loved.
I will trust. I will love. I will be loved.

Here I am, fifteen years later.
I have not forgotten that lesson.
Every time I feel fear I swallow it and think of them.
I will not ever forget.
Fuck your proof.
I am what I am, more than whats between my legs, more than whats put there.
It is they who are trapped by these bounds.

We are so much more than these little boxes.
I am so much more than that afternoon.
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