Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 66

masculinity and femininity. My insights are well examined, but through my own unique lens. Though perilous at times, I am grateful for my circuitous journey. Like my forebears Jacob the homebody and Esau the adventurer (who switched places in myriad ways), I think having my Emily Dickensonian soul out in the noisy world for so long deepened and strengthened her. And similarly, having her butch brother living a circumspect and quiet existence within my inner-world tempered him. But enough was enough, and there finally came a day—with the help of expert guides—that they grabbed each other by hand and heel and be- gan their slow 180-degree spin. And with that shift, I came to new and/or deepened perspec- tives—on masculinity, femininity, maturity, and spirituality. “ liminal spaces gave me a unique perspective on the meaning of boy, girl, man, and woman. Before transition, I was perceived as a “mascu- line woman” which brought with it the as- sumption that I was tough, mean, and randy. In fact I was none of them. I aspired to be My position as something of a changeling gave me an eye into the deeper, inner workings of how gender empowered or limited those caught in its grip. ” Before I transitioned, I inadvertently stirred up gender anxiety in those around me. I was about 4 years old the first time I remember being asked: “Are you a boy or a girl?” When I was 6, a playmate’s mom cornered me and demanded, “Do you want to be a boy?” During my entire pre-transition adult life I was routinely carded in the ladies room (“Excuse me sir, aren’t you are in the wrong bathroom?”). And it car- ried on to the next generation. One day at the library I heard a little kid ask my 6 year old, “Is your mom a boy or a girl?” Of course my response, spoken or not (usually not), to all of these inquiries was: “No.” Walking in those 66 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G strong, gallant, romantic, and courageous, but alas, that apparently read as being intimidat- ing. Fortunately, I was also kind of cute and zaftig, which softened the edges for those who moved past their initial trepidation. Those who discerned the dissonance between my butch- ness and my softness had to sort it out or flee. The folks who stuck it out typically sought a pigeon-hole where I might roost. Bull Dagger. Baby Dyke. Badass Butch. Tomboy. These were WINTER 2019