I spent the first six or so years of my life desperately wanting to be a girl.
That was the early ‘80s when gender norms were more (differently?) fixed than they are now and I existed in a haze of longing for everything that was expected of little girls then.
I dreamt of being able to quit the Cub Scouts and join the Brownies. I dreamt of kissing Disney princes and I carried pink toy dogs. I pretended to be a mermaid. I pretended to be Madonna. And when I was finally forced by the world around me to grow up and grow into being a boy and then a man ― whatever that is ― I survived by surrounding myself with girls and women of all kinds ― from the femmest to the butchest and everything in between and outside of that binary.
Today, on International Women’s Day, though I don’t identify or present as a woman ― and though there is a deep, unshakable privilege that comes with simply existing in the male-presenting body that I have called home for the last 38 years ― every cell of my being is wildly in love with women. From all of the women who paved the way so I could be here today; to my mother, who is the bravest person I know; to my best friend, who is the most selfless person I know; to all of my other friends and confidantes and all of the women I work with and all of the women I’m inspired by and all of the women I learn from on a daily basis.
Thanks for making me who I am, which ― even if it isn’t a woman ― grew up out of all of the different ways of being a woman and all of the different flavors of womanhood that exist.
I owe my very existence to all of you.