Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and sex changes.


I must've been five or six at the time.

Playing around inside the house, I grabbed onto the doorframe and did a high-kick into the air.

"See," I said to my oldest brother, "I'm like Batgirl!" (Yvonne Craig used to do ballet-type kicks when fighting bad guys on the Batman TV show).

(How FABULOUS is this costume!)

To which my brother meanly replied, "What, do you want to get a sex change?"

It was at that moment of being shamed that I learned it was "uncool" and unacceptable for boys to want to emulate girls. A lesson that would be repeatedly taught by other males while growing up.

While I never had the desire to play with dolls as a kid (it was typically Legos and action figures for me), I always found myself being drawn to female characters on TV. I watched G.I. Joe, Transformers, and He-Man but She-Ra too.

In high school it was all about Sailor Moon and reruns of Wonder Woman (which I'd originally seen as a child).

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman!

Then Jean Grey of the X-Men soon followed and in college Xena and La Femme Nikita after that.

These were strong, capable women that made the world a better place and I wanted to be like them!

It almost became an obsession of sorts. Maybe it was because growing up closeted and gay that I identified more with women than men. After all, I was attracted to guys and wanted them to want me, just like a heterosexual woman would.

Even now as an adult I still carry some of that childhood shame. Careful not to mention too much She-Ra and Sailor Moon stuff around certain people for fear of being called "gay".

And yet, there are times when my Wonder Woman notebook used for work isn't hidden under my arm but proudly held in my hand for everyone to see.

One of these days I'm going to say, "See, I'm like Batgirl!" and be as proud as can be.