I saw a shirt last night that almost brought me to tears.
Late night Instagram scrolling had be hooked on this one persons account- androgynous, cute singer with a hairstyle I’d never be brave enough to rock. I was both jealous and smitten. My girlfriend said we looked alike, but no matter how close our facial features, this person was the androgynous version of myself I’d love to be perceived as.
So we followed a random hashtag from one of her captions and looked deeper into the insta depths. Then I found it. THE shirt. The shirt I never knew I needed, and suddenly, I had to find it. It was a simple baseball style shirt that had four lines of text reading: I AM NOT A GIRL
I needed this shirt. It didn’t matter that the person wearing this shirt was more masculine presenting. We both could be not girls. Because I know deep down that I am not a girl, despite society wanting to label my otherwise. So I scoured the site it was tagged from… nothing. Then I took to google. Low and behold, it was there! Not only was it there but it was there in volume! Shirts that all read queer friendly and empowering messages. I had to restrain myself from getting a shirt that said “they them”, another peer of my identity that is invisible from the public eye.
Seeing that shirt gave me a visceral emotional reaction that I don’t think can be adequately put into words. As my girlfriend and I were browsing the site I tried to hold onto the feeling, the impact the shirt had when I saw it. More often than not lately I wonder if my gender is valid. Am I “queer enough” or am I just pretending somehow? I don’t have many external things about myself that validate my gender, such as my appearance, but damnit, I could wear that shirt. The reaction I had upon seeing the shirt was one that was so strong, I can’t deny that I am in fact, not a woman. Somewhere within that is my validation. I am not a woman. My gender is valid.
(My shirt says so)