Normality vs reality: Thoughts on gender

Michael Crawford, 21, Fern Creek, Kentucky

I couldn’t define Queer for anyone but myself.

I think queer in its singular form is a blanket term, that it is a word that falls outside of normalized identity. Queer is any contrast to how we’ve enculturated people to define, as a society, what is normal. I hate the word normal.

I identify as a male simply because my biological sex is male. I don’t adhere to gender characteristics, however, or to gender in general. Being a man doesn’t dictate what I do with my presentation, my looks, and my identity other than biological aesthetics.

I don’t think that gender is synonymous with sex. I think people often get that confused. Those genders reveal parties are so damaging in my opinion, because I feel that they reinforce a stereotype that isolates individuality and suppresses self expression from birth. Starting that early with gender expectation is insane to me, you shouldn’t care how kids express themselves. I hate that, as soon as you’re born into this world, you’re already expected to act a certain way; no one’s identity should be predetermined. It’s damaging having such strict opposites in gender because it creates such strict boundaries.

People are too quick to try and label themselves as something. I think letting yourself find out on your own time and being comfortable not knowing your identity is the best thing anyone can do for themselves. To have the confidence of not labeling yourself and to be something people don’t understand yet is beautiful. You shouldn’t ever feel the need to compress your identity because one is already created.

I like things that I don’t understand and not knowing and being okay with that.

Gender is something that has been constructed by people. It leads to further prejudice and ignorance in society. People assume way too much from something as simple as presentation. The truth is that even though someone looks a certain way, you’ll never know until you ask them and know them and their background. I don’t think people have the right to just assume you should act a certain way or treat you a certain way because of how you look.

Growing up in Fern Creek, Kentucky was god awful – I hated it.

My entire family is very religious and very rooted in religion. There was a very common theme of morality, which influenced my aesthetic comfortability in my family growing up.

I was very different growing up. Even from a very young age, I was very terrified of my mom finding out I was gay so I tried being “straight” and even tried to have relationships with girls. It’s just not something I was ever interested or comfortable doing.

It was hard growing up in church, especially because I was very involved with it. I felt very repressed and isolated in my identity because I never felt comfortable enough in the church