ANDY 2007: How can I be labeled when everyone sees something different? I don’t let peoples views limit the life I lead. I can be in a room full of people and have each person see me as something else: male, female, butch dyke, femme fag, straight, trans. The only people that are wrong are those that aren’t willing to see that they can all be right. What do you see?
ANDY 2011: Looking back on this picture, There haven’t been a lot of changes. Sure I stopped wearing boxers, and I now cuff my t-shirt sleeves to give the appearance of bigger, stronger arms but when I look back at this picture from almost 7 years ago I still see me. Other people see a difference. As time has gone on I pass more and more as male. The genderqueer within is less visible and my reality has been created by other people’s perception. I still haven’t had any surgeries and am not on hormones, though I can now grow a goatee like nobody’s business. I have no idea when it started or why. I never asked to look male. Well, that’s not entirely true. As a kid, I wanted it bad, but it seems that my body decided to turn those thoughts into truth. Embracing my body isn’t hard for me, aside from my internalized fatphobia, but it’s hard for others to embrace it if my views don’t match theirs. Alone or in safe spaces I feel that my body and gender is beautifully all encompassing. But outside of that, the world is only ready to see one of two things. I can’t say that I’m always proud of being a manly woman, but I want to be. I refuse to legally change my name or sex because I believe my complexity to be a gift as nature intended. Yet if someone reads me as male at the restaurant, grocery store or even over the phone, I become hesitant to present to them my legal information. For years now it’s become increasingly easier to have people ignore and even deny my female side. Discovering the safety that’s given in my passing male privilege has also sheltered me from the fear of being confusing. Not attacked, just confusing. Strangely enough, it’s my family not seeing me as anything other than a woman that balances this equation for me. I love being a daughter. I love hearing my siblings say “this is my baby sister” when I’m beardy and knowing that I could never fail them as a woman. Being genderqueer to me was about people respecting the multiple identities I hold at any given time. But I often forget that outside of my queer community, people just see what they want to see, and nothing else. My pride comes in waves. Some days I’ll wear it, and other days I’ll just wear this.