I remember

[CN: transphobic slur]

I remember, when I was five, being the only afab kid who didn’t cover their chest when we changed for PE.

I remember knowing that boys and girls were exactly the same, because I was exactly the same as a boy.

I remember my £1 plastic football that popped on a thistle, and my dad buying me a real football.

I remember watching Terry Jones’ The Wind in the Willows, and reserving my admiration for Nicol Williamson (Badger)’s widow’s peak.

I remember being disappointed that my new birthday bike had flowers painted on it when my friend Ben’s bike had jaguar paw-prints.

I remember climbing trees, and building Airfix planes.


Mmm, the smell of Airfix glue. And being too impatient to wait for the glue to dry before adding more parts, and ending up with a wonky plane. Which flew from my bedroom ceiling anyway.

I remember hating the thought of puberty.

I remember wondering if I might be ‘a gay man in a woman’s body’.

I remember wanting ‘hair like a boy’.

I remember being told I was in the wrong toilets, because I had short hair.

I remember how pleased I was with my ‘boy trousers’.

I remember wanting people to think I was a tomboy, although I wasn’t all that ‘tom’.

I remember being asked if I was a boy or a girl when I was wearing my school uniform skirt.

I remember identifying with male characters in stories and on TV.

I remember wanting to wear men’s clothes.

I remember being called a ‘shim’ by strangers on the street, before I knew what being trans was.

These are the dots that gender specialists, psychiatrists and endocrinologists, join up to tell stories about people’s lives. But there’s a certain story they need to find, and certain things they want to hear, a certain way that they make things fit. It’s not the whole story. Because I remember it taking twenty-five years for things seem that simple.

I remember I loved playing with dolls.

I remember my pink nightie with white stars and moons.

I remember that my best friends at school were girls.

I remember my My Little Pony lunchbox.

My Little Pony Lunch Box

I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t pink.

I remember a blue dress with white frills that I loved when I was five, and my favourite red summer dress when I was twelve.

I remember getting my ears pierced, and wearing gold studs with green stones.

Being a boy, or a girl, or non-binary, doesn’t mean staying inside a labelled box. Nothing is ever as simple as the binary tries to make it look. I know I’m a boy, and I don’t want to have to disavow any of my experiences, the ways I’ve felt, what I’ve loved or hated, because none of that makes who I am more or less valid, or more or less true. My gender is mine to express, and I shouldn’t have to justify or explain it. My gender is how I live it.

(With thanks to Joe Brainard)


One comment

  1. Pingback: I remember | Somewhere Boy

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