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Unformatted text preview: my life with absolute assurance that I was a girl,” she recalls. “I played
with other girls exclusively and disliked the rough and rude behavior of
boys. In the beginning I was told I had a particular affinity for flowers
and for singing and could often be found sitting in the flowerbed and
singing to myself. The earliest picture of my childhood shows me in a
bright yellow dress with a profusion of blonde curly locks, and a huge
smile.” Dianne’s earliest memories “are of tea parties with the girl next
door and of being led, hand-in-hand, by the girl across the road who
took on the role of my big sister.”
Dianne grew up at the edge of a small town in Canada. At first, no
one, not even the couple who adopted Dianne [she did not disclose her
early boy’s name] seemed worried about the little boy’s girlish behavior.
He was different. Folks recognized that and most accepted it—that is,
until he reached school age. Then people’s attitudes began to shift.
Somewhere around the time I was to start school, my behavior
became a cause for concern, and my adopted mother started to
push me to “be like other boys.” I found that so terribly confus- Where Our Sexes Come From 89 ing. She may as well have asked me to “be like a fish,” because
I had absolutely no idea how to be anything other than who
and what I was. And I still thought I was a girl. Sure, I had
an “outtie” [an unusually large clitoris], not an “innie” [a fully
developed vagina], but I just thought some girls probably were
that way and that everything would be set right at puberty.
At school, Dianne played mostly with the girls and avoided the boys.
But after a year or two, the girls lost interest in Dianne, who according
to the school records and rolls was a boy. But Dianne had no interest in
the boys and soon fell in with the few other outcasts who lingered in the
empty spaces on the playground. And she began to understand that she
wasn’t exactly like the other kids; something about her “was wrong.” It
would have been a frightening discovery for anyone; it was a horror for
an eight-year-old child.
While playing with a male cousin on the farm, he said to me,
“You should have been a girl.” I said “I am!” and he said “No
you’re not, not really.” . . . I started to feel like I was just weird,
somehow deformed. The pressure from my adopted mother
to “behave properly” (like a boy) was also increasing, a course
she tried to force using emotional abuse and badgering (“You
are defective. I should have taken you back to the adoption
agency.”). I was always very open about what I felt, and the
conflicts with my mother grew more heated over the years.
Dianne’s adopted father was more understanding. He often found
excuses to take Dianne away from home, away from her mother. The
times they spent together were different, there was compassion and
understanding, there was gentleness. But Dianne’s adopted father
would not or could not stand up for Dianne in the presence of her
adopted mother. Only her grandmother ever found the nerve to face up
to Dianne’s adopted mother. A lot of words flew back and forth between
the two women, but in the end Dianne’s mother always had the last
word. And that word was boy. 90 Between XX and XY Dianne knew otherwise.
At about age eleven, I had my first sexual experience with a boy,
a relative a few years older than me who was attracted to my
femininity, and, shortly after, a sexual relationship with another
boy (also a relative). I’ve never revealed this before, to anyone,
because I knew I wasn’t gay, and everyone would assume I was
if they knew.
I wouldn’t consider what happened to be “sexual abuse”
because we were little more than children, just old enough that
we were developing sexual awareness and experimenting with
our own sexuality. My own “experimenting” also included girls,
which was pleasurable but not as all-consuming as being with
At about age twelve, a lot of things started to happen. Our
home was annexed into the nearby town, and we had to change
schools at Christmas time. This turned out to be a Godsend! I
had been very quiet and terribly shy, but with my new group
of friends I started to come out of my shell. I found a greater
acceptance among the new girls. The boys were also more
accepting of my femininity and treated me more as one of the
girls. I also began to develop a deep friendship with one of the
new boys, a friendship that turned into my first crush and then
into first love!
It was also about this time that I experienced the onset of
puberty. My faith had always remained that at puberty everything would be straightened out, that I would become a girl.
Unfortunately things didn’t happen that way. About age
thirteen I started to develop breasts, which pleased me to no
end. But I also began to grow fuzz on my chin, which was
absolutely devastating! My “outtie” didn’t become an “innie,”
and that was the most distressing of all! I kne...
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This document was uploaded on 02/04/2014.
- Spring '14