I think the time has come to talk about my own gender. I have talked about being a woman in a man's world. I have talked about masculinity in the workplace, both mine and that of my male colleagues but I have never actually made a concerted effort to write my own gender, to narrate, if you will, my own gender identity.
So here goes.
I have always had a pretty strong masculine side. It was always something I both revelled in and was ashamed of, aggressively ramming it down people's throats to cover my own shame. All the time I secretly thought it would be something I would grow out of, once I'd sorted my head out, and grown up, that kind of thing.
But the fact is, I am in my mid-30s, pretty happy and sorted in life but it's still there. I stopped doing a manual job a couple of months ago and since then my upper body has got weaker, I am losing my muscles. I started to think, maybe that's ok, maybe I don't need them any more, maybe that phase is over. But I decided at the end of last week that no, it's not ok. I swam a mile on Saturday, kayaked for 2.5 hours on Sunday and am planning a session on a rowing machine for Wednesday. I want my muscles. I get a kick out of being strong.
I also get a kick out of having long curly hair and hour glass curves.
I could go into the psychoanalysis but I'm not going to. It doesn't matter how I came to be here, this is where I am and that's fine. It's not about fighting men. I like men, I fancy them and when I'm in a relationship, I like to feel like I'm the girl. Very few people have ever suggested that I am a lesbian. It's not about sexual orientation.
It's just that the gender binary doesn't work for me. I don't like my behaviour and my choices about how I earn my living or spend my time to be defined by society's perception of what I should do because I have certain body parts. I don't like the conflation of femininity with incompetence in spatial tasks. Spatial awareness is a skill that can be learned like any other. Professional male cricketers can't catch as well when they first start at school as they can after years of training. Builders don't put up shelves as well when they are apprentices as they do after 20 years on the job. Truckers of either sex are generally rubbish at parking when they first start. So you learn.
I recognise that the male and female minds and bodies are different to a certain extent for evolutionary reasons but they are nowhere near as different as society deems them to be. They are nowhere near as different as society wants and needs them to be. The binary is convenient for society, it's that old line in the sand thing. You're one of those, I'm one of these so we need to act like this.
It may be convenient for society but it isn't very convenient for me. I'm me, I do me things and I act in a me kind of a way.
I don't really attach a label to my gender identity. I don't really know what labels are out there, I'm quite new to this whole debate (I was going to grow out of it remember!). I tend to just think that I am a strong woman, both in body and character, who is in touch with both the femininity and masculinity within her.