Chapter 3 

~ Discovering Identities ~

I begin another conversation, with my close friend Becky. "Society seems to assume that all males should have, “masculine” attributes and qualities and all females should have “feminine” ones. I fail to understand why or how a person’s physical sex can determine what natural or innate qualities, characteristics, talents or abilities they have internally.” 

Becky asks, “I don’t think there was ever a time when literally all men were "masculine" and all women were "feminine?" Humans used to be males and females along with animals, birds and flowers," don't you think?"

I pause for a moment, then reply, "Since most men have masculine qualities and attributes and most women have feminine ones, society probably assumed at some point, that all males and females should have the same qualities and attributes.”

"Why didn't we also make animals, plants and birds have certain assumed qualities, characteristics and attributes? It doesn't seem fair to humans, 'cause I think each sex has both, to one degree or another. I've always wanted to have “feminine” characteristics and qualities like I see in you and other women, but they don't come as natural in me as my “masculine” ones do. If I'm truly a woman like society says I am, then "feminine" qualities and characteristics should come naturally to me, shouldn't they? But I haven't been able to learn them." 

Becky listens quietly, I continue, "I wasn't taught to be nice or kind and polite growing up. I wasn't even taught to say please and thank you. Maybe women have to be taught those things growing up in order to internalize them. Or maybe I received too much testosterone and not enough estrogen when I was in my mother's uterus."

"You are fine, just the way you are, you don't have to conform to what society thinks you should be."

"Well, men I have dated say things that make me feel more flawed and defective than I already do. They think a woman is supposed to behave in a certain way, so they point out my lack of "femininity" in a negative and condescending way. If I don't submit to their sexual advances for instance, they get disappointed or angry, implying that I'm not a real woman, they say things like, "You're trying to be a man, or somehow assume I am wrong for not being submissive to their desires."

"I think society is the flawed and defective one," says Becky, "because they try and coerce people into being one way or the other, according to what they believe is "masculine or feminine," rather than validating people as being their own true selves with whatever characteristics and qualities they possess."

A bit frustrated I respond, "Both men and women expect me to be "feminine" and I'm not, implying I am all wrong for being me. I can't be anything but what I truly am inside and I don't like being considered wrong for my sex."

"You aren't wrong and I see you as honest, truthful and lovable."

"Even the dictionary says I should be feminine, womanly, ladylike, soft, delicate, kind, gentle, quiet, caring, nurturing and loving, etc."

“Yes, but society has a different value system," smiles Becky.

"That could well be, but that means I can never be my natural authentic self in this society and be okay.”


A few days later, having coffee with Becky at the kitchen table, in a quiet house, I share more thoughts about our previous "masculine" and "feminine" conversation. 

"Did you know that millions, of mostly young males, have suffered bullying, torture and death because of the "feminine" qualities older men saw in them? My experiences are mild compared to what a lot of young boys with a "feminine" body and behavior have to endure.”

I continue, “They’re frequently called Gay, chased and beaten up, usually at and after school daily. Older “feminine” boys have often been physically tortured and killed by straight men. I heard of one man being dragged to death even, because of their innate and genuine attributes, qualities and traits. Something is very wrong with society's attitude.”

“Now that’s really sad,” Becky comments.

I continue, "Suicide is also common among these innocent young males. Adults have places to go for help, but where can these children go for help to endure their pain from this kind of abuse? There is no place for them to go. Sometimes even parents well, mostly fathers of these boys abuse them emotionally and verbally. Some kids' parents send them to therapists to "fix" them. I wonder if I could be fixed.

Masculine" girls are called tomboys, maybe beaten up sometimes, but mostly condescended to and teased, which is bad enough, but nothing compared to what "feminine" boys have to endure."

"I haven’t thought about all that," Becky injects.

I would like to know WHY a person’s qualities and characteristics are even called or labeled “masculine” or “feminine? Why can't they exist without being designated as belonging to one sex or the other?" I ask out loud. "Something doesn’t seem right." 

Becky answers, "I think they do belong to everyone no matter what sex they are."

"I agree, but that's probably why I've felt basically flawed and defective all my life. I had the wrong attributes for my sex."

After a long pause I ask, "What if we were not called “men” and “women” but still called “males” and “females” like we were originally called and like plants and animals are still called? Being labeled male or female doesn’t include those attributes or characteristics to live up to, like the labels “men” and “women” do.” 

I continue, “As males and females we’d be okay with whatever our bodies wanted to be or act like. We could have our own natural talents, skills or abilities without being criticized or judged. Then we could all feel okay with whatever we looked like or whatever natural talents, skills, characteristics or attributes we displayed? Do you think we could eliminate the “man/boy” and “woman/girl” labels and just be males/young males and females/young females again?” 

Becky responds, "I think it would be unbelievably sane if people weren't expected to live up to being a “man” or “masculine,” if they were males, or being a “woman” or "feminine" if they were females. I don’t think we could go back to being called “males” and “females” again.”

“But if we did,” I say excitedly, "There would be no reason whatsoever to abuse a young male, or call him Gay when he may not be, or be bullied in any way, let alone tortured and killed. My "masculine" qualities are unique and authentically natural to female me. What if I call my qualities and attributes atypical, instead of the double label of female masculinity?"

I pause and conclude, “God doesn't make mistakes they say. My natural authentic qualities HAVE to belong to me. Little male boys' natural and authentic natural qualities HAVE to belong to them in their own male body, wouldn't you say? 

I've tried and failed to learn feminine attributes and traits. I don’t think “feminine” males can act, feel or be “masculine,” even if they tried, like I did. I feel like our own natural qualities and characteristics should be honored and considered totally innate and okay, not wrong. Can that happen without reverting to being called males/young males and females/young females?”

Becky responds, “I say we have to continue being men/boys and woman/girls with the associated qualities and attributes assigned to each sex. Society may be the weird, strange, flawed body, not you."

Becky is so accepting of me as I am, without criticism, in direct opposition to what my mother believed about me. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever find a friend/lover that fulfilled my longing to be loved, respected and desired the way she does. She did indeed "Light up my life, never again to be all alone…” words from our favorite song, "You light up my Life." 


Feb. 11, Tuesday  Becky and I are sitting on the couch this afternoon and I express new thoughts on the qualities, traits, attributes and characteristics of humans.

"I've read a lot about left and right brain studies lately. It seems like “masculine” characteristics like being logical, focused, verbal, rational, objective, linear thinking, etc. are shown to be experienced from brain neuron firings in the left hemisphere. The ability to be "feminine," nurturing, kind, caring, unselfish, loving, considerate of others, polite, giving etc., (everything my female body isn’t,) seems to be experienced from right hemisphere neuron firings." 

"That explains why I've functioned from my left brain most of my life. All my "masculine" characteristics are emanating from the left hemisphere neuron firings, even though I am female. My right hemisphere has been very inactive my whole life, so that's why no "feminine" neurons have been firing for me. I don’t think my brain knows what sex I am!”

Becky responds, “You may have a point there. I like that you are genuine in your thoughts and ideas. You and millions like you are perfectly okay in your own bodies with your own natural behaviors, characteristics, attributes, and traits, just as Nature intended, maybe evolution is at work here.”

“Thanks, I only wish society agreed with you."



























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