My mother was a feminist, she graduated the youngest in her class at age 21 with a bachelor's degree. She was a speech pathologist and she took all of that experience and brought it to her children. She raised us without gender toys or gender clothes, she let us choose what we wanted. As part of a Spanish community, this wasn’t the way things were done, but she created that space for us.
When we would go out, my brother and I would get presents from our families that were gender biased and to me that was strange. I would ask my mother why is this person giving me something that’s pink when I don’t like pink. She would say that it’s probably because you’re a girl. You just have to say thanks and appreciate that they thought of you, but if you don’t like it you can donate it or give it to someone who does like it, you just have to feel grateful that they were thinking of you.
As a child, I was just trying to be me. I wasn't thinking about am I feminine or masculine, that never came to my mind it was more knowing what I wanted to do. It might have been playing in the dirt with the boys, or going camping with them, whatever it was I knew those were activities I wanted to engage in, but I was continuously being reminded of my gendered place based on my sex.
One example, wearing a dress was an extremely difficult thing for me to do, I didn’t like the feeling of it, I didn’t like the way my body looked in them. I would look in the mirror and it was like I couldn’t see myself. For me, wearing a dress was always a negotiation with my mom. She would never push it she would explain that there are certain times in your life where it isn’t an option that sometimes you have to wear formal things and for you as a girl that’s a dress. But quickly she would remind me that I would only have to wear it for a few hours. When that time was up and the occasion was over my jeans were waiting and I would put my hair in a ponytail and go do what I wanted. My mother understood me, but she also understood our culture and knew that for communion for me not to wear a dress would be disrespectful.
When it comes to being gender fluid or transgendered it’s important to distinguish that it’s not just about the way a person expresses feminine and masculine energy, but also the way you see your own body and whether that’s in alignment with how you feel inside. For me, not only did I identify with more masculine traits but growing up I also had a difficult time associating with my body.
I’ve felt this conflict since childhood, from the time they would say the boys could go do this and I knew that’s where I wanted to be. I didn't see any difference other than when other people reinforced the difference. The continuous enforcement of you’re a girl and the reminder of those things was a difficult thing for me to hear throughout my childhood. Why it was so difficult was because I didn’t feel that I was being heard. It was so natural for me to express myself in one way and to be forced back into that gender space, that was difficult.
Just a snippet from our conversation with an MLA and youngest Government whip who's also gender fluid: a boy consciously living in a female body. PodCast #27