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I am just listening to a podcast with Helen Joyce (who I love) and she’s just talking about the medical and surgical pathways children are put on when they are perceived to be gender non-conforming. The example she’s giving is Suzie Green of Mermaids who transited som aged 4.

This will ALWAYS chill me right to my core.

I remember pleading with my parents to let me a boy, I felt strongly that I was one. I played with boys toys and I liked boys clothes. I hated the “girly” toys my sisters played with and when they played dress up, I would dress as a boy while they were Disney princesses. My parents were extremely chill and told me I could play with whatever toys I wanted and wear whatever and it didn’t mean anything bad about me. I remember having sad conversations with my mum where I was embarrassed that no other girls liked the things I liked.

Turns out that was a phase I grew out of as I’m now a grown adult and very happy I’m a woman and very comfortable in my body.

Childhood memories are hazy but still there yet I cannot imagine the course of my life being altered by decisions I made and things I said back then. I also believed Hogwarts might be real and I low-key waited for a letter to arrive for me by owl inviting me to go to school there.

It chills me to my bones though to think what could have happened to me if I was born a few decades later and growing up now.

I am just listening to a podcast with Helen Joyce (who I love) and she’s just talking about the medical and surgical pathways children are put on when they are perceived to be gender non-conforming. The example she’s giving is Suzie Green of Mermaids who transited som aged 4. This will ALWAYS chill me right to my core. I remember pleading with my parents to let me a boy, I felt strongly that I was one. I played with boys toys and I liked boys clothes. I hated the “girly” toys my sisters played with and when they played dress up, I would dress as a boy while they were Disney princesses. My parents were extremely chill and told me I could play with whatever toys I wanted and wear whatever and it didn’t mean anything bad about me. I remember having sad conversations with my mum where I was embarrassed that no other girls liked the things I liked. Turns out that was a phase I grew out of as I’m now a grown adult and very happy I’m a woman and very comfortable in my body. Childhood memories are hazy but still there yet I cannot imagine the course of my life being altered by decisions I made and things I said back then. I also believed Hogwarts might be real and I low-key waited for a letter to arrive for me by owl inviting me to go to school there. It chills me to my bones though to think what could have happened to me if I was born a few decades later and growing up now.

105 comments

Growing up in the 70s I would say most kids would have been described as gender non-conforming in many respects.

[–] SecondSkin 11 points Edited

Growing up piss poor I’d say we all would have been seen as gnc also. Anyone’s hand me downs and home knitted jumpers, bad bowl cuts from the neighbour that grew out too long on the boys as well as us girls, played with any toys we could get our hands on and kicked out the house in the morning and played in the woods climbing trees or making forts or went fishing or took ourselves off to the local farm to help with the lambing, until allowed back at dinner time. Always dirty, always scuffed knees, bruises, tangled mop of hair. Once we were older we’d all steal cigarettes and bottles of anything, listen to punk and grunge, did our own home piercings and hair die/under cuts, boys wore eyeliner and black nail varnish like us girls, and we all read all kinds of literature just because the library was warm and free and would turn a blind eye to teenagers obviously hiding from going home to chaos.

The idea anyone had any choice about being gnc or not still seems madness to me. We were just desperately trying to survive, identifying out of our misery the usual way teens do: art and music. But we still knew there was no escaping reality.

Were you the Waltons???

But hey seriously, that was a show set in the 30s and 40s in which girl and boy children ran about the place in the same overalls.

Grew up in the 60s. Rural, tomboy - I had a German Shepherd, not a barbie. My parents didn't care. In HS (the 70s) most of my friends were male, just because my interests were male-coded.... but I also got more flack from guys who were not my friends for being that way. My teachers were generally fine with it. It never occurred to me that I was "in the wrong body", although I often wished I didn't have to put up with "girl shit"

I'm still a "tomboy". Sure, I can cook and sew, but I have exactly zero shoes with heels and no make up in the house. The current obsession with gender performance weirds me out.

Performance is a great word for it. I think the internet / social media turned a lot of things into performances

I agree but TRAs call it a performance too and somehow embrace that as a good thing

But then… god the mental gymnastics to go from “it’s a performance” (performances are essentially pretending) to “it’s who I really am”. They have no coherence, they just throw out whatever shit they think will stick 🤨

I have exactly zero shoes with heels and no make up in the house. The current obsession with gender performance weirds me out.

Yes, I’m exactly the same.

I think most children are "gender non-conforming" if left to their own devices. Of course they are, because gender is a bunch of bullshit.

Exactly. No one would naturally match norms that are by definition manufactured by a particular society at a particular time.

My poor second-wave feminist mom did everything she could to help me see other girls as people. She did everything she could to push back against my stance that I "should have been a boy" because of my personality. She read me books with amazing girls and women, she introduced me to fantastic women in film and TV, and lord knows she lived her beliefs by starting her own practice and being the higher-earning partner my whole life. She even found a remarkably pro-feminist man to be my dad.

But I still insisted I was a "boy who got a girl body by mistake." If I'd been born even 10 years later, some well-meaning teacher or counselor would absolutely have referred me to "gender therapy," and the moment someone told me of the existence of puberty blockers I would have done anything I had to in order to get them. I have no doubt whatsoever that I'd have been transitioned before adulthood.

Turns out that was a phase I grew out of as I’m now a grown adult and very happy I’m a woman and very comfortable in my body.

Gender nonconformity wasn't a phase for me, it's just my personality. And I doubt I will ever be comfortable in my body. But, I am a woman, and I am forever thankful that I was not subjected to blockers, cross-sex hormones, or surgery.

Very much so. I was an openly proud tomboy at a very young age, and in junior high many kids teased me for "looking like a guy". I would wear my hair short or slicked back, have never been over a B cup so clothing could easily hide anything if I wanted to, and was one of those thin androgenous looking types.

Growing up, I was seen as " one of the boys" as kids started splitting more into friends groups, just due to my interests aligning that way as well.

Less than 5 years ago, my psych was asking about my past "gender incongruence" and asked if I ever thought about transition. She was hinting/directing that some of my self esteem issues and the past might mean looking at trans related stuff, and right then and there I told her to stop that line of thought. Wtf

[–] Nediljka_Orwell PITA crone 6 points

WTF indeed. My "gender incongruence" is all in your mind, ya shallow moron.

Gawds. I hope you gave that shrink the boot soon after that.

I was an openly proud tomboy at a very young age, and in junior high many kids teased me for "looking like a guy".

Yes! This reminds me of myself!

Less than 5 years ago, my psych was asking about my past "gender incongruence" and asked if I ever thought about transition.

Oh wow that is absolutely disgraceful 😠 I’m glad you shut her down! Imagine her doing that to someone young and impressionable who then internalises it as a solution!

Honestly, this was not such a thing in the 70s. I'm talking elementary school age here. There were more 'girlie girls', who seemed most remarkable to me for never getting dirty or tearing their clothes, even when they were right there beside you doing the same things, and there were girls who were total tomboys, and everything in between. A lot of, if not most, girls had short hair (from pixie cuts through shags, bobs, etc.) But some had long hair, and it just didn't matter. Girls with brothers who didn't wreck their clothes wore hand-me-downs. I lived on an acreage, and we all (kids of both sexes) rode bikes, horses, minibikes and skidoos. For church or special occasions, moms got the girls into dresses (varying degrees of force or coercion required 😉) and the rest of the time we wore jeans or cords (!) or shorts. Girls clothes weren't all pink, though they did tend to have more yellows, light blues and greens, and, unless you had been somewhere like Disneyland, almost no one wore t-shirts with cartoons on them. Boy or girl, you were much more likely to have one advertising a local radio or gas station, if it said anything at all. This was in the hayday of feminism, and that really helped. I remember my friend bringing over her Easy Bake Oven, and it was really fun, but I also remember her and others coming over to ride go-carts, also super fun. I had a full set of real, useable kid sized tools, a minibike, a chemistry set, and I knew how to solder. I also had a working kid-sized iron and ironing board, dolls and a pony. For little toys, I had Barbies, but mostly played with Poohkins, which were awesome little toys that came in cereal. My dad taught me to weld, use a wood lathe, and mud drywall. My mom taught me how to cook, play ping pong, knit and tried to teach me to juggle. Everything was great until puberty. That's when sex differences became important, and girls and boys were really directed into their 'gender roles'. Some girls loved that and some hated it, and most didn't care for it but saw it as inevitable. Thinking of my class in, say, grade 4, there were only maybe 4 out of 16 girls (30-31 kids in each class) who WOULDN'T have been transitioned, and I would have been one of the first to go.

Just about the only girly Christmas gift I got was an Easy Bake Oven. I eagerly made some cookies with the dough that came with oven. When I took out the cooked cookies, I took one and gave one to my brother. We spit them out. They were the grossest thing I’ve ever eaten. Like play dough with a little sugar. So much for my girly toy. Back to climbing trees and my skate board.

🎶Be a Betty Crocker baker, Make a Betty Crocker cake In your very own Easy Bake Oven🎶

So much is cultural too. I wore long hair - hated the thought of cutting it till I was a teen - and loved to read old-fashioned books. I found a lot of the women and girls on TV shows from the US offputting because they seemed so brash and wore short hairstyles and as kids were routinely tomboyish. In books too! Of course now I just see 70s fashions and urban upbringings (I was a country kid).

There wasn't really a sense of conforming or non conforming back then, and kids had yet to become as targeted by consumerism.

[–] hmimperialtortie AGP = evil 1 points

My mother wouldn’t let me have long hair till I was in my teens and looking after it properly. I was a 60s child who desperately wanted long hair. She was a 30s child who was not allowed to get hers cut. Definitely generational, lol.

My parents gave up on me having long hair by the time I was 4 because I never brushed it and I wouldn't sit still to let them, either.

Your story sounds just like mine. This is a big reason why I'm against all this trans shit. If I was born like 15 years later what would have happened to me? Would I have been lied to about biology and put on blockers? It's terrifying to think about.

Yes I’m convinced that if I was a kid nowadays, I could be led down a really sinister pathway of lifelong medicine and surgeries. It scares and upsets me to know that I escaped but that little kids like me won’t.

I think it’s also important to think about how badly bullied parents are. I can imagine my parents standing up to a gender doctor and disagreeing but the amount of stories I hear of those parents being scared or shamed into submission is shocking.

Totally, and grew to be in some ways a gnc adult.

It wasn't so much that I wanted to be a boy, but rather than I wanted all the rights of a boy, including the right to be interested in 'boy stuff'. I used to do carpentry with my dad in his basement workshop, and so in grade 8 when all the boys did 'shop' and all the girls did 'home ec' I desperately wanted to do shop but they would not let me. I retaliated by failing home ec, the only subject I've ever failed. Later I learned to love dressmaking and cooking, but there's no way I will love it if you force me to do it for some specious reason like the kind of body I have.

[–] Kevina 12 points Edited

I was, and I never grew out of it. When I was very young (under 5) I made various declarations about being a boy, but thankfully there was no such thing as child transition then (70s). As I aged I continued to play with "boys" toys, like Legos and Tonka trucks, and i was obsessed with video games. I hated baby dolls and dresses. Fast forward to today and little has changed. I do own a couple of dresses but rarely wear them except to a wedding or maybe a cruise. I work in a male dominated field where I've never been required to wear makeup and now rarely wear it at all. Most of my life I dated women and have always felt more comfortable around sporty women. Lately circumstances have changed and I'm hanging out with het women and the old nlog feelings have returned, as I don't seem to have much in common with most of them. A group of us goes to play a local sport now and again and one of the ladies had to miss coffee afterwards so she could go home and cook breakfast for her grown ass husband and it just drives me nuts watching these women take care of their man children. At parties I notice myself hanging with the guys a lot because I'm not interested in the latest trend in pedicures or shopping or endless pics of grandkids (I have no children). I'm outspoken and have a very direct communication style. My MIL told me she finds me 'intimidating'. Not all of us grow up and magically transform out of our gnc/tomboy 'phase'.

[–] Nediljka_Orwell PITA crone 12 points Edited

I was one of those "neglected" free range kids of the 1960s and 1970s who somehow managed to reach young adulthood without getting killed or abducted, LOL. Our only rule was to be home for supper. Oh, we got hurt alright; stitched flesh, broken bones and chipped teeth were very common. But we healed and learned invaluable lessons.

My given name is a mouthful that my siblings couldn't pronounce easily so I have been called a single syllable male nickname all my life. I loved it when my father would say "my daughter <male name>". A fun joke. There was a few years gap between myself and my siblings, so when they got older and pursued their own interests, my father (who was a maker and doer extraordinaire) turned me into his apprentice and honorary son. I did everything he did. Restoring old cars and maintaining new ones. Clearing land. Building and growing things. Most of it was hard physical work done outdoors using tools and machines. The desire to "be a boy" never entered my mind. I was already living it in many respects. Even well after puberty.

We moved when I was 15. My new school was unusually tolerant and intimate. It was very small, with grades 7-12 (approximately 900 students) in one building. Unlike my bigger previous town (which was gentrifying and growing like mad, with new families moving in from all over) it was a slightly depressed and isolated blue collar town that didn't have much cachet or turnover. Most families had lived there for multiple generations and had very deep roots. At my new school no one thought twice about or bullied the non conformers (sexual or otherwise) because everyone had grown up together. High school stereotypes were rare. Cliques were practically nonexistent. There were cheerleaders who drank beer and smoked dope. And slept around, LOL. There were super smart kids who played sports. And peddled drugs. Economic status wasn't a big deal either. My graduating class's power couple was composed of an underachieving dirt poor guy and an affluent A student beauty queen and everybody loved and admired them. (Except me, LOL.) Social status was mostly merit and family based. Everyone partied together on the weekends. Even though I was a quirky new girl without historical roots I was quickly embraced and integrated. It was only after I entered college and started hitting the walls of convention and conformity that I realized that my upbringing and high school socialization were unique and that the rest of the world wasn't quite ready for a female like me. It still isn't, LOL. But safe harbors were found. And I'm still here after 6 decades. I can't imagine what it's like for young people nowadays. You have my deepest sympathies. So much has been lost and changed.

I have to question the whole idea - what is "gender non-conforming" anyway? And is there anyone you know who conforms to gender stereotypes 100% of the time? So are we not all gender non-confoming to one degree or another?

As a girl, I climbed trees and refused to wear skirts and dresses. But I also played with dolls. I feel like in todays absurd terminology, this would be called something like "gender expansive" or some other nonsense.

Yes I completely agree with you there and know exactly what you mean.

I suppose in this instance, I meant gender non-conforming in the sense that you and others who knew you were aware of it and discussed it and perhaps it may have involved some element of distress or upset.

But yes I agree with you that we are all gender non conforming at times because the notion of adhering to feminine and masculine stereotypes is nonsense.

Yes, and I’m sorry if my wording seemed adversarial in any way. Not my intention. Its just that this is up in my world via my kids school right now, and so I’m a bit hot under the collar about it 🤪😡

Oh no, not at all! It actually made me think that I could have worded my post better because I completely agreed with what you said and I didn’t make that obvious!

Nooo not in their school 😠 In that they are being taught these ideas?

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