From the moment I was born, the doctor exclaimed, Es ist eine Maedchen! This is German for, It’s a girl and I had zero input on that statement. Although, society treated me according to my gender, I have always identified as feminine. Even though this is how I identify, I was never discouraged from doing anything that was considered masculine or not considered typical girl behavior.
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I believe that gender identity was always a non-issue in my life. I lived my life without perceiving any kind of judgment from my family or close community. I don’t remember ever feeling societal pressure growing up either.
I had hoped and thought that everyone could live that way. I wouldn’t say I was na??ve but I just didn’t understand why anyone would have to conform to a way of life that wasn’t a true representation of oneself. I read this assignment and brainstormed for a few days before realizing that I wouldn’t have anything substantial to write about because I was always encouraged to play, behave and feel however I perceived when it comes to gender roles. Before I get into my own personal story, I would like to define both the terms; gender and sex. Throughout the rest of the paper, I will elaborate on my childhood experiences, share a story about a moment with a friend who felt societal and family pressure on his gender identity and how my experiences influenced how I am raising my own child.
According to Newman, gender as one’s psychological identity, feminine and masculine, while sex is a biological assignment associated with chromosomes and genitals (Newman, 2018). I have always identified with both my gender and sex. I was born and raised in Heidelberg, Germany and I was very fortunate to live a life where no one cared if kids under the age of 12 ran around naked at the lake or little boys wore fleece tights in the winter to keep them nice and warm. So what if a little girl was playing with boy toys or a little boy was playing with baby dolls and a baby stroller? Looking back, I feel like no one, especially in my little world, felt that we, the children, were supposed to play or be a certain way. I was encouraged to have the best childhood. I realize as an adult now that many other people aren’t that fortunate or privileged.
It wasn’t until freshman year in college where I realized that some people were not able to live life as their truest self or identify differently than the social norm. It made me sad that they had to conform to society’s or their family’s idea of gender identity. When I started college in 2007, I temporarily moved to the middle of nowhere in Missouri.
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