George Takei

Pride and Dysphoria

I decided to venture down to San Diego Pride this year mainly because I knew George Takei was going to be there. Me being the nerd that I am thought that was pretty awesome. There was a Spirit of Stonewall Rally in which he gave a beautiful speech about the gay rights movement and all the work that still needs to be done. Sadly, he did not mention his trans brothers and sisters. However, after his speech, a Mr. Maddocks (who I believe is transgender) gave a speech on the trans rights movements (making ENDA trans inclusive, etc.). That was really nice to see people cheering in support of trans rights and all that.

After that event, my friends and I went out and ate some really delicious food. We decided to check out the block party that was going on. It actually wasn’t that great, so I slipped out to go grab some yummy cupcakes from a place called Babycakes. I met a friend of mine there; she was with a couple of friends. I was introduced as August, which was nice for me. I think it’s the first time I’ve met new people through another person and was identified by my chosen name. However, without any cues from my friend, they identified me as female and used female pronouns, even though my friend used male pronouns in reference to me.

We hung out for an hour or two, but then it was time for them to go home. So, I met up with my cousin and his gaggle of gay guy friends. They, of course, I identified me as female, which I was expecting. Earlier in the night, I was looking around the crowds of people and began to realize that I just looked like another butch lesbian. It was a really dysphoric moment for me. What sets me apart from these women? They wear similar clothing. They have similar hairstyles. Some have deeper voices. The only big differences I noticed was that I had a binder on; so I had a flat chest, while theirs was very prominent. Also, of the women I happened to be in vicinity of, they had freshly waxed eyebrows and pointy sideburns (or whatever they call them), while I do not have either of those things. My voice is also more masculine than any women that I heard speaking. At this point though, it didn’t matter the differences, I was still identified every time as female, much to my dismay. I suspect that this was due to the fact that I was in an environment where butch and trans tend to blend together, but it still kind of brought me down. In a more hetero and cis environment, I’ve noticed that I’m not usually gendered at all (or even yesterday, the guy who brought my pizza to me called me man. I was pretty excited about that.)

While I was glad to be at pride, a part of me was fighting really hard to maintain my self identity. All I could think the whole time was that I was just like every other butch lesbian walking down the street. That was hard for me to deal with. Even during the time when I identified as lesbian, I was always put off when someone tried to label me as butch. That is not how I felt then, and is definitely not how I feel now. But yet, I am still put into that box. I’m still looking forward to the day when I don’t have to worry about this sort of labeling. (I even purposefully didn’t shave to give the cue that I am male, though… I think I may be the only one who notices the hair on my chin and slight sideburns that have started to come in.)

I don’t want to be put off by the whole Pride experience, but I’ve noticed in the LGB environment, I get labeled as female 100% of the time, as opposed to just out and about. It really sets me back mentally.