On Being A First Generation Queer Xican@ Female: Part One

Nahuitochtli K. July 7, 2013 0
On Being A First Generation Queer Xican@ Female: Part One

“A mom’s story about a young boy who loves to dress up.”
Based on a true story, “My Princess Boy” celebrates one child’s “unconventional” gender expression. Wish I had this growing up!

In my darkest moments, I curse that play-doh like adolescent period between child and teenager; middle school.

Middle school is the time when children stop believing and start to gain an understanding of themselves and others. At least, that’s how it was for me. It was in middle school that I noticed individuals began segregating themselves by the two dichotomous socially constructed ideas of gender (and race…but more on that later)–boys and girls. Sure there was a sprinkling of co-ed groups, but for the most part this is where I noticed my peers and myself beginning to develop our own identities in ALL aspects and forming groups based on those identities.

Reminded of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum

As a child I remember rarely thinking about gender or what it means to be born female bodied. Suddenly, what was between my legs became really important as many of the presumed cis-gendered young adults started dressing and acting the part of “women,” “men” and even the racial stereotypes for each group.

Here I’m reminded of Judith Butler’s famous work, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory” (it’s been a while since I read it, so bear with me). I wonder if Butler, in writing about gender as performance ever thought about the age at which our genders become almost forced upon us. Though I would argue it’s been forced upon us even before we’re born (“Is it a boy or a girl?!”), I would say middle school is particularly the time when socially constructed gendered differences are emphasized.

I write all this because I distinctly remember going home after my first week or so of sixth grade and thinking, “I have a vagina…so I guess I’m a girl” and acting accordingly.

That decision (if it can even be called that since a decision implies a choice) still haunts me to this day.

Back then, I wasn’t aware there were other possibilities; bi-gender, gender-queer, gender-fluid, gender non-conforming and the list goes on. Professor Marcia Ochoa, the Transgender Bodies instructor at University of California Santa Cruz jokes that them** and their** friends create, let me repeat that, CREATE their own gender identities for their friends!

Oh holy spirits.

They joke about this kind of stuff? Until I got to my last years of high school I wasn’t even aware there were more than two genders (and neither does the majority of the population today)!

I have lived most of my life as a presumed womyn, because I didn’t know there were any other alternatives. What if I didn’t go to middle school and wasn’t practically forced for the sake of “normality” to choose? I remember feeling like neither a girl OR a boy…just me. Which is why I question if I’m really a womyn or if I’m just a womyn because I was socialized into being one?

I’m constantly in conflict with myself.

The answer should be simple right?

Q: How do you feel?

A: Well how I feel is like a goddamn Nahuitochtli, that’s what I feel (LOL even my name has its story to it, but I’ll get to that in Part Two, I promise).

Q: Well do you feel like you have feminine or masculine energies or both? At the same time? At different times? Or none at all?

A: What feminine and masculine energies? According to what culture? I’m bi-cultural, didn’t you know (my life is a series of intersections, let it be known!)? And even then, so what? Aren’t they too social constructs? How does one know if they identify as man, womyn, neither, both or an ambiguous beautiful identity somewhere in between?

Q: Well umm…how do you act? Like a boy or a girl?

A: How do I act? Excuse me, stop trying to perpetuate patriarchal gender roles/norms here. I believe we are all capable of loving, giving, strength, resilience and everything in between. Decolonize your idea of gendered actions please. How I act has nothing to do with my gender identity.

To all these questions there are a multitude of answers, theories, realities, stories, and most importantly people, above all people. I wonder how many people are stuck in their gender identities because they aren’t aware another existence is possible and/or how many people are going through my same struggle trying to find words to describe them?

I don’t know the answers, but I do trust my story. I know that I’m not alone so here I am, typing away hoping that if you’re out there and are in the same boat as me, know that no you’re not weird, that no it’s not wrong, that it’s okay to say “Actually I’m none of the above, so fuck you I’m me.”

I think I’ll take a page out of Professor Ochoa’s book. If I could create my own gender identity (and I can since I am) I think I would identify as All Spirited. Or Purple Glitter Martian Paradox. (It’s a working gender identity here).

Tlazokamti,
Nahuitochtli

them, their, they’re** is a gender-neutral pronoun. I use gender neutral terminology either if I don’t know someone’s preferred gender pronoun or if that’s someone preferred gender pronoun (pgp). In this case, I don’t know Professor Ochoa’s pgp (PERDON PROFE!).

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