Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Finding My Own Gender Identity

By Anonymous

I grew up as the littlest sister in a family of three. My older sibling Sam came along a couple of years before me, and I looked up to Sam in every way. I had the typical little sister syndrome. I wanted to act, look and be like Sam. Sam played softball so I did. Sam agreed with the Democratic Party so I did, and so on.

When Sam went to high school, and I was still in Junior High, Sam left the house before me, and because of after school activities, Sam came home after me. So every day, I would raid Sam’s closet. And I would wear Sam’s jeans and shirts to school. I remember being three inches shorter and a little stouter, but sliding those clothes on after Sam left each day and off again before Sam came home.

In college, when I met my husband, neither of us dressed very fashionably. I wore flannel or plaid shirts most days with cargo pants, while he had tape holding his glasses together. Over the years, he started wearing glasses without tape, and I discovered that I liked heels and pink, a lot. And now, we both tease each other constantly about the tomboy he met, and the complete nerd I met. I’d never put much thought into what changed inside of me, although my husband often asks me what made me stop dressing in flannel.

That is until recently, when Sam came to visit my family, and I finally confessed to Sam that when Sam was at school, I stole Sam’s clothes. And I explained to Sam how much I do and have always looked up to Sam. Then, in an instant, my whole view of myself changed. I had the realization that for most of my life until my 20s, I based my own gender identity on my transgendered older sibling’s. I spent my life dressing and looking to fashion advice from Sam, and Sam didn’t identify as female.

And so, somewhere in our 20s, Sam realized that Sam didn’t identify as female, and I realized that I did. Here we were, each on our own, allowed to finally decide for ourselves what we felt like inside. Sam’s insides screamed one thing, and mine screamed very loudly, “Pink, I love pink! Put me in pink heels, please!”

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