Up until this point, I have written one blog post specifically addressing my gender identity. My family and my friends do not fully understand the extent of my gender identity issues. I currently classify myself as gender-less or asexual.
I struggled with gender identity disorder since I was a child. My family does not call me Julia. They call me Chewie. (Yes, after Chewbacca from Star Wars.) This is the name they have called me for as long as I can remember. It is the name by which I refer to myself. Julia is like my undercover name and Chewie is like my secret identity. It feels strange to be called Chewie by someone who does not know me like that. However, I feel like Chewie is the real me.
What’s in a name? Well, for someone who struggles with gender identity, everything. It makes life so much easier or so much harder. Being called Chewie at home gave me a way to cope, a place of safety, a way to be myself.
I don’t hate being a girl anymore. I used to. I used to despise it. I used to avoid bathrooms like the plague. I would pee my pants in middle school to avoid using the girls restroom. I would avoid talking to new people for fear of the dreaded question, “are you a girl or a boy?” I would answer girl but be offended if someone said I looked like a girl.
People labeled me what they wanted, and looked at me strangely if I used the girls restroom or the boys restroom. I could not belong no matter how hard I tried to be one or the other. I didn’t have the characteristics to be a girl, and I didn’t have the parts to be a boy.
It hurts to talk about it. You can read any post, website, or article about gender identity or transgender and see people who don’t understand the conflict. They say it comes down to body parts, but what about people who have both? They make it sound so easy, but many are likely the same people who would call me sir in a restaurant, ask me to leave the girls dressing room, and look at me strangely when I buy feminine hygiene supplies.
It is only by choosing to classify myself as asexual that I have come to peace with my gender. It doesn’t matter what people call you if you don’t classify by either gender. It doesn’t matter if you get kicked out of dressing rooms or get strange looks by curious cashiers. I can finally accept that I will never fit the mold, and I no longer feel like I have to.
What does this mean in regards to the rest of my life? Pretty much nothing. I still attend the women’s activities at my church; I wear a skirt to work and pants as soon as I get home; I shop in the ladies section and the mens section interchangeably. The only thing it changes is my dysphoria in regards to my gender.
I no longer cry myself to sleep because I don’t fit in the gender norms. I don’t get offended when people question my presence or belonging. I am content to not fit in, to not conform, and to be who I am without letting labels define me.