Maleness. Masculinity. Being a man.
These are concepts I’ve been aware of and have worked with one way or another for all of my adult life. And much of my childhood, too. What it means to be male is trumpeted to all and sundry pretty much all the time. And Evangelical Christianity (the kind with a noticeable hint of fundamentalism) thinks it is strong on defining masculine roles, too. And I am biologically male.
But sex is not entirely what is between your legs. There is an awfully large component of one’s sex nestling between your ears, too. This is the sort of comment that comes up in conversations about trans-gender people. The sort of people who come to the conclusion that the sex of their body is at odds with the sex of themselves. That naturally leads to the next step which is that sexuality is not binary (i.e. male or female) but on a spectrum and often with some fluidity. I have friends who are most not “one or the other” but instead seem to occupy a range on that spectrum.
I thought I’d come to terms with my sexuality. But a few things in recent weeks has made me realize that’s subtly wrong: I’ve come to terms with exploring whatever my sexuality is. This was a part of my deconstruction and recovery from a failed marriage and it had to be part of that process partly because sexually-defined roles were one of the issues in that. It also has to be part of any deconstruction because sexuality is not something you can put on a high shelf in the back of the wardrobe: it is a part of who you and how you react to the world.
I feel like I’m circling the topic a bit. I have all the right bits to be male. I present as male. I identify as male. I am attracted to females and only the female form “does it” for me. Nothing out of the ordinary so far. I also subscribe to a number of behaviours that are typically male. I like cars and can do work on my own. I am a bit of a handyman, capable of hanging a door or installing a dishwasher. But I also have some qualities that some would say are less than male. I don’t follow sports (at all). I don’t like beer. My favourite movies are often not the super-action “things exploding” movies. The songs I love are often the ones with complex emotional messages. I am confident in a kitchen. And also around a sewing machine.
I can see myself in the not too distant future possibly making cosplay costumes of some sort, hopefully for myself. At the moment, I love looking at cosplay. Most of the best cosplayers and costumes are women, for a start. There seems to be so much more variety for girls than guys, in both concepts and in practice. The whole “kawaii” thing is pretty big – but doing “kawaii” for a guy is really hard. This is one reason my fluffy cat ears are blue (or purple).
But there’s a part of me that identifies as female. My PS Home avatar was female – strongly female. It took a couple of years, but over time as I refined her and her clothing, I realized she was a version of me that I actually wanted to be. That’s what I miss most about PS Home (Sony shut it down about 18 months ago). So I see ladies dressing up in cosplay and I so wish I could dress like that. Except I’m simply the wrong body shape.
This does not feel to me like simple gender disphoria. Nearest I can describe it is that I am so attracted to the other sex that I want to be one. But that’s not completely correct, either. I remember times when a child playing dress up as a girl. But I never wanted to not be a boy, either. Or at least, I don’t remember wanting to not be a boy anymore. I see stories now-a-days of little boys who like sparkly skirts or dress-up as Elsa or love dolls over toy cars. I could’ve been like that. Maybe I still am. Skirts can be pretty easy to sew.
To be honest, I’m not sure where I am.