Oh Pinocchio

Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy.

When I was a little girl, I really related to this.

I wanted to be a real boy too.

Let me back up.


This is my Gender Journey, as memory and patience allow. For as long as I can remember, I “wanted to be a boy.”  That is, I was interested in the things “boys” did and I wanted to wear the clothes “boys” wore.  I would fantasize about being a boy before I went to sleep at night.

My best friends were boys. I played “like a boy.” I played tackle football with the boys. Baseball, soccer, fort, war.

Like a boy.

Like a “tomboy.”

I was constantly called he and boy and son, and I got used to this, early on. I also got used to not making a big deal about it when it happened, because that would make it worse. Because that would result in an overcorrection from the Misgenderer about “OF COURSE YOU ARE A GIRL,” thus reminding me what a Freak I must be.

When I was 13, I cried for a week when I realized I was supposed to date boys.  I used to pretend having crushes on guys from Tiger Beat so none of my friends would figure out I was Gay (pretty sure I didn’t fool anyone).

bruce penhall
I’m Bruce Penhall. Cathy Brennan used to pretend to have a crush on me.

When I got my period at 14, I thought my life was over.

When I started developing breasts, and my mother made me shop for a bra, I refused to be in the “lingerie” department with her at the same time. She would go in and leave a pile of bras for my approval, and I would surreptitiously look at the lacey pile, quickly selecting the most un-bra like ones (this was before sports bras. It was not fun).  I refused to say the word “bra,” because I was so despondent over the state of my chest.

When I went to college, I “decided” to grow my hair long, because, in part it was the 1990s, and I was into the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays, and there was this neo-hippie Patchouli, crystal-wearing thing going on (don’t hate, I was also still Goth IN MY BRAIN). I was also lazy. Then my hair stayed long because I was too lazy to remember to cut it (grooming, it’s never been high on my list of priorities).

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 8.58.49 PM
Poor Bela.

And even with long hair, I was called sir and Mister and man.

Coming out as a Lesbian solidified, in a sense, my view of myself as “masculine.” I mean, dating a Woman is pretty Manly (amirite?).

In the late 1990s, an odd thing started happening. Other Lesbians like me – those of us perceived as Butch or masculine, or who embraced a Butch identity – started “realizing” that they were actually Men.

Trans Men.

Oh Pinocchio. They were “real boys” after all.

And a lot of them started telling me I was too.

“If you were five years younger, you’d be a Man.”

“Why are you pregnant? You’re a Man.”

I laughed it off, but I eventually discarded all of the Trans Man friends I had who used to be Lesbians. And I eventually discarded all my Trans Man friends as well, for the same reasons.

Because they are in the grip of a Powerful Delusion – but one I can relate to, truly.

Who wouldn’t want to “be a Man”? It would make lots of things a whole lot easier.

Let’s Talk About Cis Privilege!

But, ultimately, and thanks to my Mother, Marlo Thomas, dumb luck, the Women’s Movement, whatever special sauce, I found my way and continue to find my way as a Woman.

Hear this, Trans People.

Your Gender Journey is not the only narrative of “Gender Nonconformity.”

I am not, in fact a Man. My desire to be “a Man” probably had everything to do with the limited roles for Women to play in a Woman-hating culture and my desire to be Gay without shame in a Homophobic society.

Getting comfortable in one’s own skin is a lifelong process. I am still working on it. What Woman isn’t working on it?


Stop telling Women – stop telling Lesbians – stop telling “Gender Nonconforming Women” – that we don’t understand Gender, or that we are “Cis” and somehow oppressing those other “Gender Nonconforming” people.

You are lying. Every time you say these things, you lie about us.

You erase us.

We are Lesbians. We are “Gender Nonconforming Women,” straight or gay. We have existed a long time.

We are here. We were Queer before you were born.

Get used to it.


This entry was posted in Gender and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Oh Pinocchio

  1. Pingback: Ah, Pinóquio | por um feminismo que vá às raízes

  2. Pingback: Redefining Reality #redefiningrealness | Gender Fatigue

  3. Dog Queen says:

    Wow self important much? Guuuuuuurl, don’t nobody give a shit ’bout yo skanky ass.

    ED NOTE Dog Queen

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