Growing up I never liked the stereotypical girls toys or girls clothes but I always still identified as a girl; even in my black jeans and t-shirt I still felt very much like a female. Throughout my teen years I often wore boys clothes and wouldn’t be seen dead in a dress but I felt feminine (in my own way).
When I became involved in intersectional feminism at age 15 and learned about the variety of genders, I like many others decided to question my own gender. I considered how I’d been brought up and whether my gender differed from my female sex, I still felt very much like a girl but maybe that was just what I’d been taught to feel. After months of casual deliberation I came to the conclusion that actually I was a cisgender woman, I felt like a woman, lady, female, girl, (I could go on forever) and I always had.
Now aged 19, my partner identifies as non-binary and wears a chest binder to combat their gender dysphoria while I still identify as cis. However in the last few months I have found myself slipping (well more like forcing) it on when they leave it at my house; and not just to try it on, several times I’ve warn it all day for a couple of days. My relationship with my boobs has always been unusual, as a teen I either used to wear padded bras to show them off or sports bras to strap them down, and this changed from day to day. At the time I didn’t think this was unusual, after all boobs were fun but they was also really really annoying; they hurt half the time, and bounced too much, and got in the way.
Though the same pattern continues today, some days I’m very happy to wear a push up bra to show them off, but other times I despise them and attempt to push them as far down as possible. There are days I love my boobs but there are also days I feel sick to my stomach having to see them in the mirror. However my gender identity is still cis (I’d go as far as demi-girl) even with the binder hiding something that is supposed to be intrinsically feminine, I still feel feminine. The thing is I don’t think I associate breasts with being female, some women don’t have any and some men have handfuls; so even in the binder I feel female, in my head I am a woman and so it doesn’t matter how I choose to express myself.
For the last month I’ve been seriously considering buying my own binder, and today I think I’ve arrived at that day. I won’t wear it everyday, I probably will wear it less than 50% of the time, but on the days I do wear the binder it will combat the dysphoria I feel.