My Exposure to Gender

I fell on the ground chasing Brett and Jacob because it was my turn to play the villain. The teacher on duty for recess hurried her way over to me and picked me up. Her eyebrows furrowed as she was looking at my knees that were completely scraped off of a cold cement ground. She shook her head and sighed. “S, baby, you’ve really got to stop playing catch with the boys. How about playing dolls with Hillary and Katie over there?” She said as she pointed at Barbie dolls in the corner. And I remember squirming out of Ms. H’s embrace and running off to the playground where Brett and Jacob were now playing war on the jungle gym. I was a five-year-old girl, and Ms. H was so worried about me because I would be the first one to lead the boys out on adventures during recess. She thought I was “not a good girl.”

Mr. C was my high school AP US History teacher. One day he walked into the class with a shadow on his face. He sighed, threw the newspaper he was holding on his desk, and looked around the classroom. Then he said, “let me tell you something — I grew up in an America that was once proud, and where people knew exactly who they were and what was expected of them. Where freedom was respected and rights were valued. This morning I ran into your choreographer for the annual extravaganza and apparently the opening number is dancing with rainbow flags. These people got to take the sacred value of freedom and distort it to argue that a man can love a man, and a woman can love a woman. Complete tragedy. Utter absurdity. I will not be attending the extravaganza this year.” 

Mr. F, my AP Psychology teacher, introduced me to the spectrum of sexuality. Until that point, I did not know that heterosexual people could also be attracted to certain qualities of same-sex people. “Percentage,” said Mr. F, “is what it is about. If you are attracted to an opposite-gender over 65% of the time, then you are heterosexual, but you are also 35% something else.” Though not sufficient, this was the first real exposure I had.