This is the second of a sequence of posts in which I describe my personal experience with concerns and confusion over my gender. This was hard to write and even harder to put out in public. Please be kind. This part contains my high school and mission experiences. Part I can be found here.
My transition to high school was difficult, partly because my family had planned on moving that summer and had to postpone the move by four months. So I had left 9th grade telling all my friends that I wouldn’t be back next year only to be there for the first semester of my 10th grade year. This coupled with the hard transition from junior high to high school made for an awkward start to the school year. Once we finally moved things didn’t get much better as I moved to a smaller high school that included 9th grade, so friendships and cliques there had already been established over the last year and a half.
Making friends at my new school was very rough and took a long time. I was not at all outgoing so if I hadn’t been so successful academically and placed in positions of attention, I might not have ever been included in a group. But thanks to the size of the high school, I ended up being in all the same advanced academic and arts classes with the same people. I was also surrounded by the same people in my extra curricular endeavors and then as a senior I had the opportunity to be on the Seminary Council. Fortunately, by my senior year I had a good group of decent friends and we hung out together on a pretty regular basis. (On an interesting side-note, many of my friends from elementary school, junior high, and high school, have since turned out to be gay. I’m not sure if this is a factor of my own gender issues or simply that most of my friends were also of the more creative and artsy sort. A counselor once told me that people with ‘sexual issues’ tend to be drawn to one another, even unknowingly. I don’t know if that’s true.)
This is the first of a sequence of posts in which I describe my personal experience with concerns and confusion over my gender. This was hard to write and even harder to put out in public. Please be kind. I’ll discuss my earliest childhood memories here up through junior high or around when I was 16 years old.
I cannot remember ever not wishing to be female. My earliest memories involving gender revolve around my interactions in playing with my siblings. I am the oldest of the children and my younger siblings are very close to me in age. Growing up we were best friends, fought rarely, and played together all the time. We’re all very creative and imaginative, so we’d often play pretend. We’d be grown-ups, teenagers, dinosaurs (The Land Before Time influenced us greatly!), or other animals. Almost invariably, I’d pretend to be a female animal, dinosaur, or human. This cross-gender pretending wasn’t done by my brother or sisters, but none of them ever seemed bothered by it.
I played regularly with both ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ toys… I had some Transformers, My Little Ponies (Firefly and Magic Star were my favorites!), Glofriends, but most of all I loved Legos. As I got older, my interests continued to straddle both stereotypes. I was very interested in arts and crafts, computers, music, math and science, painting, video games, and crochet.
First, a disclaimer: I am no trained expert on these topics. All my information here comes from my personal experience, courses I’ve taken on gender, and my own personal research. In addition, even though all the information I’m giving here is verified by scholars, there’s still a lot of scientific research to be done on the topic, so ‘facts’ are subject to change as we continue to better understand the complexities of human gender. What follows is my understanding of these concepts, and I know that the extent of my knowledge is limited. I will keep this updated to be as accurate as possible.
Gender identity is one of those weird things that doesn’t seem important until it goes awry. Sort of like power steering on a car, you take it for granted as baseline, not realizing how smooth it makes driving until something starts to not work. Most people who don’t feel discontent or disconnected with their gender won’t even ‘see’ their gender identity as it coincides very well with their anatomical/biological gender.
Because this is something that hasn’t been talked about much, there isn’t a lot of agreement about the terminology that’s used. So to start out with I’m going to talk about what exactly these words mean and how I’ll use them in my writings here.
In the last year or so there have been some very brave people who have put themselves into some very vulnerable positions on the internet. One such example is Josh Weed, who, if you don’t know, has made waves in the Mormon blogging community about how he has reconciled homosexuality with Mormon teachings that go counter to his innate attractions. I admire him very much for his willingness to put himself out there and to tell his story. It’s very valuable for his readers to see him, his family, his life, and the honesty behind each post.
For the last few months starting this blog has been very much on my mind, but the one huge question that’s been looming and keeping me from starting was whether I needed to attach my name or not. After careful consideration and discussion with my wife, I have elected not to for a few reasons.
It’s time to talk.
It’s time to talk about some things which haven’t talked about much yet, at least in an open and candid fashion. I have a lot to discuss. I have a lot of questions. The things I want to talk about are difficult and may be difficult or impossible to answer. But before we talk, let me introduce myself.
I’m not going to give you my name right now, (for reasons I’ll discuss later), but you can call me Capricornus. It’s tough to contain a person in a few sentences, so I’m going to give you some details that are pertinent to what I hope to discuss so you can know where I’m coming from.
First and foremost, I’m a spiritual, inquisitive person. I believe in a God and in the existence and divinity of Jesus Christ. I believe in absolute morality and seek to live my life and make choices in the best, most correct way possible. I believe that I existed before I was born here on earth, and I believe that I will continue to exist after my body dies. More than anything, I want to please God. I believe I’m here on earth experiencing mortality to learn and be tested. I absolutely want to do my very best on this ‘test.’ I want to do the best I can here and learn as much as possible.