“Call me ‘he,’ call me ‘she,’ just call me ‘me!'” -RuPaul
“Oh my god, I can’t believe we actually had guys in our dorm! I feel like I’m going to be so social this year,” one of my girlfriends exclaims after three guys leave her dorm room. It is a Thursday night and I am in the dorm room with six other girls. She then turns to me and says, “Oh, Gabe, you don’t count as a guy.” I cross my legs, smile, and respond, “That’s because I’m a lady!” We all laugh at the irony of my comment.
I identify as a gay man and I am content with keeping my penis and testicles; however, I love using cross-gendered pronouns to describe myself. One of my best girlfriends always calls me “girl” in her texts to me and when my gay best friend talks to me, he always says, “Hey chica!”
Even though I do not identify as transgendered, I find it so liberating to not take gender so seriously. All my life I have been obsessed with perfecting my “performance” of gender; I envied straight guys who were effortlessly masculine in their speech, hand gestures, and interests. But as I continue to discover what it means to be gay, I am realizing how cathartic it is to embrace my femininity.
The very quality that I tried to get rid of during my freshman year of high school has turned into my own source of empowerment. Now granted, I do not have the fortitude or tenacity to strut down Bruin Walk in fierce Rupaul’s Drag Race pumps and yell out “WERQ!” every five seconds, but I do feel I have gradually become more and more comfortable in my own skin. And realizing that my gender expression is under solely under my control and nobody else’s is a huge part of that.