“Who were these kids? What right had they to be born into a world where they were taught to look endlessly into themselves to ask how the texture of a mushroom made them feel? To ask themselves, and not be told, whether they were boys or girls? You eat what’s there or you starve.”
–Kim Fu, “For Today I am a Boy”
After reading the unique and beautifully written book, “For Today I am a Boy”, I found my thoughts stretched in directions I was not expecting. I inhale gender and exhale gender. And inhale. And exhale. I think about procedures and practices. I think about posture and the differences between how I am perceived and how I perceive myself.
I acknowledge the wince I feel in my bones each time I am called Miss or Ma’am. I am trying to exist beyond the borders of pronouns and just walk along as human.
Throughout the book, I recognized the ways in which gender is not always chosen. It can be hidden. It can become shameful. It can become the drawer of unmentionables that becomes like a haunt. The word transgender (as far as I can recall) is never used in this novel. And it doesn’t need to be. It’s aroma is there the entire time. What moved me the most is how community just naturally forms, which shapes our comfort level allowing these drawers to slowly open and let limbs rummage a bit.
For some, gender is not a second thought. It just is. All these options that we have (which are growing) are not necessary for some. For others, it has become like spending a lifetime (or what feels like such) for the right word and finally finding it.