February 08, 2011


Dina, age 5
Olympia, WA (1988)

What makes a person look gay? What makes a person look straight?

When I was a little girl, I was a study in contradictions: I loved dressing up and playing with Barbies and My Little Ponies, as much as I loved digging in the sandbox and helping my dad in the workshop. When my aunt got married, she chose me to be the flower girl.
My grandmother made me this beautiful pink dress. I freaking loved that dress, insisting on wearing it whenever there was a formal event.

When I grew older, it became apparent I was different than other girls, but I couldn’t figure out exactly why. Somehow it got channeled into me wanting to dress and act less feminine.

I rarely wore a skirt or dress during middle and high school, and I never wore makeup 0 except at my synchronized swim meets, where I had no choice.

But that wasn’t authentic to me, either. It took me years to realize that what made me different was my attraction to other girls. Once I came to terms with that part of my identity in college, I started re-embracing my feminine side.

I started wearing makeup occasionally and wearing skirts to class. In a way, that was more freeing than my experiments with masculinity in middle school.

Today, I am still a study in contradictions. I’ll wear a pretty sundress and ballet flats one day, jeans and a t-shirt the next. I like video games as much as I like fashion. I feel like this is my true self, a true self I was not able to fully express until I got rid of the baggage of being a queer adolescent.

I hope if any queer kids see this, they'll understand they can be queer in their own way, which doesn’t mean denying the more "mainstream" parts of themselves!


spanishwoman said...

Awesome! my case is similar, I love my feminine side but at the same time I love these "guy" things like videogames or sports... we should be gay in our own way. Fabulous!

Alexandriaweb said...

I'm kind of the same way Dina :)

Kaity said...

Dina! Thank you for posting this. I am one of those "queer kids" and I really identified with your post. When I read the line "I started re-embracing my feminine side...In a way, that was more freeing than my experiments with masculinity in middle school." I completely understood! I'm going through that shift right now. I may be a lesbian, but I am much more feminine, and no stereotype can change the girl I am. :)

Thank you SO much for sharing your story.

sara said...

Sounds a lot like me. Thank you Dina!

Dina said...

I'm really glad my post is resonating with so many of you! <3 Keep on keeping on.

momfox said...

What a treasure to read this, Dina. Thank you for sharing the link with me. You, just as you are and as we saw you unfold since before you were born, as the wigglewort in my belly tussling with your daddy, are a perfect and remarkable beloved child of the creator. Never forget that.