You don’t have to cut yourself

By the time I was ten years old, I knew what girls were used for. And that we were supposed to like it. We were supposed to be grateful.

I knew there was some mistake. It came with the force of revelation: If that’s what girls like, if that’s what girls are for, then clearly, I am not a girl. Q.E.D.

I knew what I was going to be when I grew up: A man.

At 18, after a couple suicide attempts and a long stint in the mental hospital, the path forward was obvious. I was ready to ditch being female forever.

I despised my female self. I cut off my hair and threw the femme clothes in the trash. I read about hormones and sex-change operations and I decided I would sign up. In the meantime, I would live as a man.

I was confident that science would give me my life back 

But It didn’t work.

Yes, I could look like a male. But I couldn’t pass. At 4’10” tall, I was taken for a nine-year-old boy, no matter what I did. Just six inches separated me from my goal.

I was horrified to discover no amount of drugs, hormones, and surgery could give me that six inches.

A pit of despair swallowed me up. I was cutting myself again. It was a year of misery. I knew that for me, there was no path to power, no cure for being female.

I started taking drugs. It was during an acid trip that the second revelation came to me. “Man” and “woman” are two halves of the same confining box. I realized being the oppressor rather than the oppressed is not liberation. That the problem is male violence against women. Grooming children to be used and abused. Raising little girls to be ashamed and hate themselves.

I realized the problem is not me. My female body doesn’t make me a monster. And cutting off my breasts is not a solution for a world gone mad.  

I finally understood that the problem is patriarchy. And the world opened up before my eyes.


2 thoughts on “You don’t have to cut yourself

  1. Thank you for putting this out into the world. I did not go as far down the rabbit hole as you did, I only got as far as genderqueer identification, but my reasoning for doing so and for ditching the concept of gender identity entirely were very similar. I just didn’t want to be a girl or woman in the way that socialization and culture taught me was what I would want if I really was one. So obviously, that meant I was something else, right? The conversation has been sneakily shifted to justify oppression of those who “choose” it by identifying with femininity instead of exposing that system of oppression and uprooting it. I’m glad you realized that you weren’t what needed to change.


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