Stories are written by people who don’t necessarily work or study in fields related to sexology. They convey emotions, perceptions, and subjective perspectives. Opinions voiced in the stories are those of their authors, and in no way represent the position of Les 3 sex*.
Ce témoignage est aussi disponible en français [➦].
Translated by Zoe Yarymowich
It’s summer, it’s hot, it’s sticky. I am playing outside with my neighbours, shirtless, like them.
A lady sees me and shouts: “Little girls don’t go around topless! Go get dressed!”
I went home crying. I was 7 years old.
That’s when I realized that being a girl was not the best choice for having fun.
Two years later, in 1998. Sitting cross-legged facing the exterior wall of the school, I tirelessly scratch my cap bill on the red brick. A Raptors cap, purple and black, bought the day before. Super beautiful, too beautiful even, especially, too new. New caps aren’t cool; guys wear folded and torn caps instead. So mine had to be the same. I must have spent three hours scraping it on a brick.
That same week, at my request, my mom gave me a bowl cut. Looking quickly, with blonde hair, I thought I looked like Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys. At the very least, I looked enough like a little boy that people would stop bothering me about my sex.
My mom let me be. She never commented on my ferocious tendency to cross-dress. Feminist at heart, being “born” a girl should in no way dictate my actions or mannerisms.
Besides, I always had the impression that my early rejection of femininity pleased her. As if she saw a clear and conscious sign of protest against rigid female stereotypes.
And I wanted to make my mother proud. She was the strongest of mothers because, as I said at the time, she “could do whatever men could do”. I too wanted to do “whatever men could do,” and the easiest way to do that was to not be a girl. In all of my nine years, I didn’t see any advantage to the female sex. Rather the opposite.
Being feminine was synonymous with being insignificant. Rather than challenge the limitations of my assigned gender, I rejected and disparaged it.
However, I didn’t have a problem with my physical attributes, being very typically “feminine-looking”. I wanted to be seen as a boy, but I don’t think I had any desire to really be one. In the privacy of my home, I could play with Barbies, but in plain sight, I chose stereotypically masculine toys instead. I laughed at girls who liked dolls to defend my taste for Hot Wheels and dinosaurs.
Intuitively, I understood the privileges of being a little boy and I did everything I could to benefit from them. Anyway, little girls didn’t like me very much, and to get revenge, I laughed at them. Girls, we called them rags; they were soft and dirty. They couldn’t play dodgeball correctly and would scream if you hit the pear ball too hard. When they got too close, for fear of being contaminated, we had to flee.
I was not a girl. I "didn't count as a girl, I wasn’t a real one." In all of my nine years, this was the best compliment in the world.
It allowed me to be chosen first in physical education, to not be the goalie in soccer at lunchtime, to keep the hockey puck in my pockets between recesses, and participate in tornado hunts after school.
The only thing that was less cool was that I was in love with Simon-Luc, who was in love with Maryse. And Maryse was a real girl, sweet, pretty, and not very good at dodgeball. Already, I didn’t quite understand why guys wanted to French-kiss girls that they didn’t have fun with. Beautiful girls, we watched them from afar, but we were certainly not going to play with them.
Still, I had understood the game and I knew giving up my boy privileges to fall on the other side was a bad idea. If I returned to rag status, I would have to say goodbye to tornado hunting on Saturdays and to my priority right to the Nintendo 64’s second controller on Sundays. Between that and love, the choice was simple.
In 2000, I changed schools. In the new place, I was a girl. Despite my best efforts, there was nothing I could do. I was alone, without my boy privileges and, by a fair swing of the pendulum, rejected by the girls.
This is where I became a feminist.