All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson Read Online (FREE)
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BLACK. QUEER. HERE.
The story of how I entered the world was a foreshadowing.
When my aunt first saw my head full of beautiful, jet-black, curly hair crown from my mother’s womb, she ran into the hospital’s hallway where my family waited.
“It’s a girl! It’s a girl!” she yelled, to my grand- mother’s excitement and to my father’s slight disappointment. But by the time my aunt got back to the delivery room, and I had been fully born, she realized her quick assumption would soon need correcting.
She ran back out to the family and said, “Uhhh, actually, it’s a boy.”
The “It’s a girl! No, it’s a boy!” mix-up is funny on paper, but not quite so hilarious in real life, especially when the star of that story struggles with their identity. Gender is one of the biggest projections placed onto children at birth, despite families having no idea how the baby will truly turn out. In our society, a person’s sex is based on their genitalia. That decision is then used to assume a person’s gender as boy or girl, rather than a spectrum of identities that the child should be determining for themselves.
Nowadays, we are assigning gender even before birth. We have become socially conditioned to participate in the gendering of children at the earliest possible moment—whenever a sonogram can identify its genitalia. Gender-reveal parties have become a trendy way to celebrate the child’s fate, steering them down a life of masculine or feminine ideals before ever meeting them. It’s as if the more visible LGBTQIAP+ people become, the harder the heterosexual community attempts to apply new norms. I think the majority fear becoming the minority, and so they will do anything and everything to protect their power.
I often wonder what this world would look like if people were simply told, You are having a baby with a penis or a vagina or other genitalia. Look up intersex if you’re confused about “other.” What if parents were also given instructions to nurture their baby by paying attention to what the child naturally gravitates toward and to simply feed those interests? What if parents let their child explore their own gender instead of pushing them down one of the only two roads society tells us exist?
When our gender is assigned at birth, we are also assigned responsibilities to grow and maneuver through life based on the simple checking off of those boxes. Male. Female. Black. White. Straight. Gay. Kids who don’t fit the perfect boxes are often left asking themselves what the truth is:
Am I a girl?
Am I a boy?
Am I both?
Am I neither?
As a child, I struggled mightily with these questions. And that struggle continued to show up in various ways throughout my life. Now, as an adult, I have a much better grasp of sexuality, gender, and the way society pressures us to conform to what has been the norm. I understand how this sense of normality doesn’t hold a space for those of us who don’t fit the aesthetic of what a boy or girl should be, or how a man or woman should perform.