This is Me

Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

~ from “This Is Me”
by Keala Settle (soundtrack from The Greatest Showman)

Last month, on the day before my 48th birthday, I headed into the DMV to renew my license. Normally, this wouldn’t be something worth mentioning. Only this time when I walked out with my temporary license, it not only had my new address on it, it also had my new gender: X.

X. Not the F that has identified me up until this year. Not the M that I had secretly hoped for during childhood. But something holding the space for non-binary, for genderqueer, for the identity I’ve kept mostly hidden from everyone–myself included for a very long time.

There have been times in the past when my struggle with gender has seeped out. I was 11 years old, on the verge of puberty, and answered my best friend’s question about what I wanted to be when I grew up with, “a boy.” Then the following year my step-mother and her daughter held me down to shave my legs and armpits and pluck my eyebrows because I was a girl. Over the next years, the struggle went underground as I hid jeans and t-shirts in my car since I wasn’t allowed to leave the house without looking like a proper girl. While the other girls were putting on more makeup in the high school bathroom, I was washing all of mine off and changing into my butchness.

My masculine tendencies were written off as me being a tomboy; we all knew the struggle to fix me was rooted in their unspoken fear that I would otherwise wind up as “one of the gays.” That perhaps the right clothes, the right walk, and the right makeup would save me from a life of sin.

None of that stuck. The evolution of my sexual orientation is inextricably linked to that of my gender. The summary version is that the journey from identifying predominantly as lesbian to queer is wrapped around the deepening understanding that I’ve never truly been a woman.

As someone who has grown up in a culture steeped in misogyny and whose life has been substantially marked by violence against girls and women, what does it mean to declare “I am not a woman.” I don’t know entirely, but that question is one of many that have kept me from fully exploring my own truth for far too long.

For me, one undeniable influence of being a woman for so long is that I can’t declare “I am a man” with any amount of comfort. After almost five decades, who I’ve become has been greatly influenced by experiencing the world as someone assumed to be female. Only in the last few months have I allowed myself to be honest about this body I’ve worn and how it has kept me a stranger to the world.

What will it mean to transition from female to genderqueer, to non-binary? I know that while it will be messy to navigate, I will at least be authentically me. I won’t need to keep running from that voice and why it has shielded this secret for so long.

This is the year I’ve come out as genderqueer; the year of obtaining my new license; the year I scheduled a consultation for FTN top surgery; the year I am exploring whether or not to go on T.

This is the year I ask myself once more, what do I want to be when I grow up? And I get to finally answer “myself.” I want to be myself. Whatever barriers I have to break through to get there, I’m ready. Whatever I have to unlearn, I’m ready. Whatever the journey brings, I’m ready to be me.

I make no apologies, this is me.

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Cloe (CC) Webb
Member
Active Member
Cloe (CC) Webb (@cloe-anne-webb)
1 year ago

THIS IS ME!!! I’m reminded of a MASH TV episode where Frank Burns is challenging a local Korean man who was a regular in camp to prove his identity. The man had no papers and exasperated he just answered “This is me”. Finding out who we are for ourselves is something even cis people go through, but when things don’t line up to the reflections the world provides it become monumentally more difficult for us. The “paper identity” is just a reflection of someone elses thoughts and perceptions at a point in time. I yearn for a world where the… Read more »

james adams
Member
james adams (@janne)
1 year ago

Decided to that I am fed up with silicone boob’s so taking hormones to grow my own

Carrie Lynn
Member
Carrie Lynn (@carrielynn)
1 year ago

I, too, recently renewed my DL. Until I walked up to the clerk I forgot that Colorado has the “X” option and I did not ask until it was all done. Opportunity lost, but not all is lost, as I also forgot to take my DD214 so I could get my veteran status, too. At some point in the near future I will go spend $28 and redo my license. You are a brave human. While I am also gender non-conforming or gender-queer, I use genderfluid because I go back and forth. When I do, it is 100% masculine or… Read more »

Charee
Member
Active Member
Charee (@charee)
1 year ago

Beautiful!!
The hardest thing for some of us to be is authentically “me”. unashamed, unhindered by others opinions, unwavered from our focused destination of authenticity.
I see a strong, courageous, determined person in this article and if I were the wind, I would be fully under you hairy wings buddy; Keep On!!
Aaaan thaaank you for being exactly who you are!

Namaste’
n huggles for you my friend
Char

April King
Member
Active Member
April King (@april-king)
1 year ago

Definitely better to be true to yourself hon. Funny thing is while I love being April I also love being able to “rise” to the occasion, so I take T shots myself at my advanced age. Life is nothing if not ironic. 😉

Charee
Member
Active Member
Charee (@charee)
1 year ago
Reply to  April King

What a beautiful you…thanks for that April
Namaste’
n huggles
Char

Linda Coleman
Member
Linda Coleman (@linda)
1 year ago

So well done, Rooze for being true to yourself. I wish you all the very best working out what else you need to do to be at one with who you are.

Dasia Anderl
Active Member
Dasia Anderl (@dasiathephoenix)
1 year ago

Awesome, thank you, Rooze! I’ve never seen an Enby official ID yet, it’s sweeeeet! Congrats on this legal victory!

Jan
Member
Member
Jan (@mountainman)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rooze McKelvey

Thank you for sharing your story….

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