I have had an interesting journey thus far regarding orientation, gender, and sexuality. When I was a young person and began to explore my sexuality I began with girls. I had numerous girls that I “experimented” with and even had a few that I frequently engaged in sexual activity with. Later, after getting caught by our parents “playing” around I was told that “If I didn’t get a boyfriend instead of playing with girls all the time I would become a lesbian.” Since, in the late 80′s, I was not familiar with the term or really knew what it even meant I had to go with the assumption that was implied with it – shameful. I assumed it was something not good and that apparently was not something you wanted to “catch”. So I found a boyfriend and eventually got pregnant. I had a baby at age 17 and married his father. His father was bisexual and I found this out very early in the married years. We raised our son together and as time went on we both explored out “bisexual” sides. We were supposed to be honest about it and not keep secrets but it never happened that way. Instead there was a ton of shame and secrets – I believe its because of the shame carried by the idea of being queer in any way.
When my son was about 10yo I began to realize that I was either lesbian or a transman or both! AND that I needed to explore it more thoroughly. As time passed on I would say I was a “lesbian married to a cross dresser” which was mostly true. I eventually left my husband to be with women in a loving, deep, close, and incredibly intense way that only long term relationships can fully comprehend. He wasn’t happy about it and, for a short time, lost his mind about it. Eventually he came to terms and still to this day remains with a woman.
So everyone knew about me… .my family, my community, co-workers, friends, and even various genders of lovers. I told everyone, outloud and proud, that I was not straight. But I wasn’t sure how to define it really.
My wife, being the most amazing woman on earth, encouraged me to explore the depths of gender, sexuality, and orientation as deeply as I needed. She said regardless of how I identified she loved me for who I was, not what I was. I explored being a transman, but transitioning is not for me for many reasons. I explored even being genderqueer and still love to mix up gender as much as possible.
But as the fall of 2012 set in I realized that I was simply butch. Really I always had been and for some reason I held shame around it. I couldn’t figure out why….really. Why is being lesbian something to be ashamed of and why is butch even worse? Where is the shame coming from and how do I move past it to find my trueself?
I explored feminism and explored my feelings about gender. I was raised by a single mother whom was a feminist in theory but not so much in practice. She often relied on the $$ of men for various reasons…. I would rather starve than live under a man’s thumb for money. Although I think adult entertainment of any kind can be feminist but that’s another post My mother taught me things like “women can do anything men can do” and “there is no women or men’s work” well you get the idea. BUT I was also taught that you should dress a certain way to get a man’s attention – girls are meant to behave like this not that – and for certain there are certainly boy things and girl things and I should mostly prefer the girl things….a few boy things is okay but It can’t be TOO MUCH boy. Ohhhh there was a line I crossed often and the next thing you know I was getting some flowery gift or super girly clothes…. or forced to dress like a “young lady”. I had such a troublesome youth. Time went on and my husband seem to enjoy my “tom boy” side and often would have me help him with working on cars or using various tools. I was a gardener and even was known to use the riding tractor to cut the grass on the farm we lived on. I wasn’t afraid to get dirty and I wasn’t afraid to dress like a boy. But for my husband, somehow, if I wore men’s underwear I was crossing a line. That was his line…although he could wear mine. Good reasons, I left him so I could wear men’s underwear and cut my hair….and love women. So here are the various sources of shame….here is where they lay. I must let them carry their own shame and I will abandon mine….I cannot carry theirs for them.
In that – I came out to myself. So of course when I began to say I was a lesbian or butch people would say “well didn’t you already know that” – Sort of – I knew that I loved women and wanted to bond with them in one of the closest types of relationships in life. I knew I was sexually attracted to women. I knew that I had a vagina and that’s all gender had ever meant to me up until about 7 years ago. That’s right, it took me 7 years to come out backwards.
Most people do all this soul searching before they tell everyone…. but not me. I tell everyone, try on the hat, move it around, shift it, clean it, dry it, and than fucking put it back on just to see if it fits…..I love myself because I do this. It’s so important to me to do soul searching…. plus I am sure someone else out there has come out backwards….right?