Wandering Through the Gender Forest
So last time you heard from me here, I was agonising over body image. Did I really want to be a Huge Jacked Man?! My goals were shifting. And I guess they kept shifting, to the point where I asked myself an even bigger but much shorter question:
Am I a man?!
In 2015, I first put on a dress without it being about a character or a photo shoot or anything else. I was visiting Paula, then my girlfriend and now my best friend/ aromantic life partner/ flat mate/ partner in crime/ amazing person, when I looked at the dresses she had hung up ready for the day. “I bet I would look cute in that dress” I said, prompting a big smile from Paula and an immediate change of clothes. Later that day, I posted this Facebook post (click to read in full):
Ever since that day, I’ve been questioning gender and what it means to me. Within a year, I had come to the conclusion that I wasn’t a Man Who Wears Dresses, I was Genderqueer. And the ball kept rolling. My head is awash with thoughts and feelings about gender, and I don’t always know what to do with them. So… Why not agonise over it in my blog?! YAY!
Gender is a lot less straight forward than most have previously thought. It can seem messy and confusing and it’s easy to feel a bit lost. A bit like a plate of spaghetti, all squiggled up and interweaving and you can’t tell where one thing begins and one thing ends. I now like to think of gender and sexuality as a forest instead. There may be paths that have been walked in. Paths that appear as if they are the Best Way Through. And most will happily follow that path, and have a perfectly pleasant experience.
However, you can go anywhere in a forest, you don’t have to stick to the path. It may be a bit trickier to walk routes that haven’t been walked before, and you can’t usually tell where a new path is going to go… but you’ll usually end up somewhere interesting. Any path through a forest is a valid one. And the more people choose to step off the most travelled path, the easier it becomes to take alternate routes. Suddenly, there are a myriad paths through the forest. Some cross each other, some end up elsewhere entirely, some go aaaaaaaall the way around the forest and end up where the main path went anyway. And you know what? All these paths are valid, all of them give you a different, joyful experience (Unless you hate being in forests, but shush). You see different trees, different animals, different plants, different views.
Of course, if we step all over a real forest, it will eventually mess with the ecosystem and scare off wild life, but this is a metaphorical forest and shut up! No metaphor is perfect at every level!
What I’m saying is that whatever path you take and whatever you do and feel while taking that path is up to you, and it’s valid. And it’s good.
This blog is about my path. Thank you for reading.