Features Jun 24, 2015 at 4:00 am

As a Child I Identified as a Pirate Captain—That's All I Can Tell You

"I made a conscious effort to dress and behave like the guys who dated the women I was attracted to." Kelly O


Well if that's all you can tell me I won't bother reading the rest. I will just gather that you must enjoy the attention of looking like both otherwise you wouldn't.
I thought this was a fascinating read. Not particularly surprised that the Dori Monson fan couldn't make it through, though.

Thank you for taking the time to write your story. For people who actually give a flying fuck about other people, and their perspective, it was an interesting journey.
I give a flying [care] about other people as you would put it. I just don't waste time playing into the hands of chronic attention seekers.
You are literally like me.
@dorismonsonfan - your loss you didn't read it. Your bad for making a point of saying so next to your smug face. "I didn't read it, but I'm going to judge the author anyway." It's an interesting piece - maybe a little long in places, but it's a point of view you don't get very often. Someone who straddles gender definitions we all try to reinforce. Why do we reinforce them? What good does it really do? It's a fair question, and who better to ask it than this author?

Where you see attention seeker I see someone who's willing to let us into their world, and I appreciate it.

But hey thanks for sharing that you didn't read it.
Wow, this is bringing back memories of how I used to feel about my body and how I used to dress. I didn't make a conscious decision to stop doing that but somehow that sense of costume and fun went away. I still don't think of myself as being on a continuum, but reading this makes me aware that I could. Thanks.
But I'm so glad to know that dorismonsonfan didn't read it!
This was really great and totally made my morning. Thank you.
"You are an attention seeker, but look at me taking up space to tell you that I did not read it. Look at me! LOOK AT ME YOU ATTENTION SEEKER!!" -dorimonsonfan
Thank you so much for sharing this, Sarah. As an adult I have known a few punx who seemed to live a similar lifestyle i.e. a female-bodied man with no desire to change physically who are mostly interested in dating women but sometimes date men. I was always way too scared to ask them any questions for fear of being offensive as they were more acquaintances than friends. Anyway, I'm just trying to say thank you because I think I have a better understanding now.
As a straight, cis woman who is also pretty androgynous (not as much as the author, I suspect, and lacking in the aggression), I have thought about these issues quite a bit. Or rather, I have been confronted with these issues quite a bit, since OTHER people seem much more curious about my gender identity than even I am. I know part of it is "cultural": I was raised as the only female in an entirely masculine household (my dad got full custody after the divorce). But my mother is very masculine in her behavior, so maybe part of it is genetic.

@Dorimonsonfan: I'm sorry your penis got a little hard when you saw her picture. That must be very confusing for you. I agree that she is very attractive.
Great, well written article. Thanks for sharing your experience. @Sandiai: Loved what you wrote to the troll, Dorimonsonfan.^
If I were to describe how you looked at my wedding a couple years ago, I would have said dapper.

This was wonderful, thank you for writing it.
this is beautiful! thank you.
As a queer femme, I'm so grateful that you/this spectrum exists. Beautiful writing.
Yeah and also the writing was Fabulous. That should have been the first thing out of my mouth.
I just fucking love this so much.
This is really, really lovely and I am lucky to find it at a moment in my life when I'm questioning my place on various spectrums. Thank you so much for sharing.
This didn't make my day. This didn't make my week. This made my life.

Thank you.
Beautiful and eloquent, I think we can all strive to have this level of freedom to be our true selves, outside of labels, gender norms, and societal pressures. Each moment is practice. Also you are smokin hot!!! Inside and out! Thank you so much for sharing.
I just started testosterone shots because no one believes I'm a man. So I love that you wrote this, and am also deeply envious that you've managed to build yourself a world where you're free to move about without modifying the meat suit you haunt. Respect!
This is an exquisite essay. I feel expanded by it, that it's truth—"...sex is anything and everything. It is less an act than a force that can manifest itself any way"—occurs also in my life. Thank you for writing it so honestly and directly. I'm going to read this again and again, and hope to share it with some writing students.
Sorry, I wasn't 'moved' like many others were. Too long frankly, but more to the point it left me with one question: what was the point of this essay, other than some personal catharsis now shared with the masses?

What am I missing here?
this was great! This was similar to my youthful experiences in so many ways, though kinda flipped around cause I'm a trans girl and doing the whole hormone thing and am hella bourgie now.
Nice article, I suppose. When I was in school, people would call me "fat-ass," "faggot," and "nerd." Women tend to avoid me, and when I do date they tend to either A) leave quickly or B) try to change me into what they want. No happy ending for me. No "lots of options" for sexual partners. I assume this is you dealing with what you perceive as challenges. Trust me. There are Heteros/dudes/guys who identify as guys out there who have worse problems than you. They are very, very different from those in their peer group, but nobody has bothered to champion their cause or start a revolution to make them "acceptable" or, heaven forbid, "attractive." You're doing fine. You've always been fine.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story - it's a critical read for most people. As the mother of two young boys, it's been fascinating to witness how these individuals fall very different from each other on the spectrum. My observation and intuition is that hormones play a significant role.
@1, 3, 26 (and doubtless more to come in the same vein):

We get it. You've always felt secure in your gender and sexual identities. Can you entertain the thought for so much as a nanosecond that your experience is not everybody else's?
Thank you for this article. It gives voice to many things I have felt, but didn't have words for.

For those of you who didn't get anything out of the article, I have a question. Is it only and all about YOU? It seems as if everything has to fit your worldview or it wasn't worth the space it was given. If anyone got something out of this article, even if it was only the writer, it was worth writing. A little more tolerance of other's needs and differences would be good here. Or do you really need to tear down others in order to build your own self esteem?
A good writer lets me see the world through their eyes, no matter how different those eyes may be. But you have to be a good reader, and willing to go there with them.

This was very well written. It's a shame that there are so many people who think they should be proud of themselves for being such goddamn bad readers.
In my mind there are three genders (cis or trans)
Special Snowflake
Re: 30, I suppose for the sake of "balance" I should say to Sarah: we do not all exist on continuums; some of us are rooted, mired, anchored, to the very same spot :)

Great piece, I really enjoyed it.
Fascinating! Thanks, Sarah, for a great article and an intimate glimpse into your life.
Sarah is awesome.

That is all.
@26: It's Pride month, that's why. It's a good time to read about other people's experiences outside the established gender/sexuality binary system.

The point is to learn and understand an experience that may be different than your own. That's the point of all writing, isn't it? Or do you only read about people just like you?

How dare you tell me about your life in such a personal way? Don't you know that it makes it much harder to dehumanize and hate you? You just want attention and approval and to make bullies like me look bad. Go put that plaid dress back on and no bawling this time! I've spent my life repressing every non-cis/hetero thought that I've had for the sake of society and I'll be dammed if you're going to get away with being praised for embracing your individuality!

I think you're fabulous, Sarah. What a terrific essay. Thank you for sharing. And I think you're adorably dapper too. :-)
Awesome piece, Sarah. I sort of wish though that you could find yourself under the umbrella of "woman" and know that everything you've felt and desired is perfectly normal beneath. You're rocking it like a person, and not like a gender stereotype. That, more than what you choose to call yourself, was my takeaway from this essay.

The terms "man" and "woman" also encompass enormous, complicated spectrums. Humans do not come off an assembly line. We aren't all TV sitcom husbands and wives. Our society created the boxes we're all shoved into, so kudos for pushing back against those limitations, knowing them to be untrue.

Our culture provides us with so few female "Captain Hooks" but that doesn't mean we don't have many amongst us and many others starved to see them represented in our culture. I remember making fun of all the "girly" stuff too when I was young and idolizing Sigorney Weaver in Aliens and refusing to wear make up, and I don't think I'm unusual. I don't think you're unusual. I think most women and girls (and men and boys) press against the sides of these tiny boxes and find them too confining.

I'd like more people to expand what "woman" is, so more people will not feel shame in that title, and so girls growing up can see a few more badass women looking any way they want to and know that there is a place for them - gay or straight - to be who they are, as they are.
But all that said - claim any title you want, on any day, as you're feeling it.
<3! <3! <3!
I have to admit, I don't understand this way of thinking (not that I have to, I guess). It seems like the goal is progressivism but it is based on the acceptance of such regressive societal bullshit attributed to gender as the truth that it doesn't seem progressive in any way to me (not that it has to). Why can't you just do the things you want to do and date who you want to date while associating with the gender you were born with?

I don't know, I can't wrap my head around it, even though I read the article and related to her feelings in many ways. It just never lead me to the same conclusions. My teen relative and all his friends consider themselves gender fluid, and when I asked his mom what she thought that was about, she said "I think it's kids doing the same thing kids did in the 60's - trying to be as different from their parent's generation as they can be." I just don't see why it's really necessary. Not that I have to.
This makes me so happy. I completely relate to so many parts of it and feel kind of sorry for people who can't seem to wrap their minds around it.

Thank you, Sarah. :)
I am a cis woman, totally hetero, and I loved reading this piece. We can all better understand and accept the gender spectrum by hearing the POV of someone who is somewhere else on that spectrum. "The more you know". This was great, thanks for sharing.
God, this is so good. Thank you, Sarah. I always read your writing ever since I saw you do the poetry night up in Greenwood a few years ago. You rocked it then, and you're still rocking it now. Thanks for expanding my mind.
I did enjoy your writing, your perspective, and your story! Thank you:)
I was glad to see the writer get to "I'm basically female outside and male inside." I think the idea of gender as a spectrum is too limiting - the continuum concept seems to assume that an individual occupies one point on that spectrum, or maybe a moveable point that varies according to circumstances, but a point nevertheless.

I think people should feel free to occupy simultaneously multiple points, and on any number of spectra, not just one. And, of course, to move around.
I love her.
A truly lovely and joyful article.
LOVE this. Thanks for sharing. Well-written and so honest. I have a baby, and I have been thinking so much about raising her in this society without boxing her in. As punx, her papa and I will do a good job, I know; it's more Society that I'm worried about. It was cool to read about your parents doin it right.
@40, I get what you're saying. I have felt that exact same sentiment, but then I come back to (as you do too!) how the most important thing is that people are free to self-identify.
@ 28 It saddens me to hear you are suffering, regardless of how you identify. I know there is a stigma around therapy, and let me tell you it is silly. I've been going for years and it has helped me tremendously. You probably think people don't care about you, or that you're unlovable-- you don't have to feel this way! But you have to learn to love yourself first. Go to a therapist, get some perspective--it will likely turn out happiness is much more attainable than it currently seems.
I love your writing, Sarah. I think you are the coolest person ever.
Hey Sarah, I hope you see this! I'm dealing with almost the same thing right now (but complete opposite spectrum), and am having a lot of stress and trouble figuring things out and dealing with it all. I'd love to be able to talk to you and get some opinions and hear more about what you're going/have gone through. My name is through link on profile, and you can find me on fb or whatever, but I'd REALLY appreciate it, cause I don't really have anyone to talk to about it, or that understands exactly what I'm feeling. Hope to hear from you, and thank you for your article! :)

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