Are You a Boy or a Girl?

by bdhesse

“Hey! Are you a boy or a girl?”
I ignore them and keep walking.
“Hey! I said are you a boy or a girl!”
I put my hood up and keep moving. Soon I’ll be out of ear shot. Maybe they’ll give up.
This isn’t the first time that this has happened and it won’t be the last. These people, these strangers, they tink they are entitled to a piece of myself. They think they need to know what I am, but do any of them care who I am?
“Are you a boy or a girl?”
This time it was the kids from the highschool across the street. Another time it was a boy in my class. He wasn’t willing to listen to the teacher until he knew exactly what I was. What business was it of his? Who is he to demand anything of me?
There was that time on the train too…that man who just kept watching me. And that waiter in that restaurant.
They all think they should know, but none of them know me. None of them even care to know me. Why should I answer their demands?
And why would they ask such a personal question? Would they answer me if I asked such questions of me? What if I asked them if they were curcumcised? Or what size of bra they wore? Would that be okay?
Yet they think they can ask me such questions? “Are you a boy or a girl?” Would they ask me “Do you have a vagina or a penis?” But they already are. The words are different, but the meaning is the same.
Do they care what’s in my mind? I doubt it. If I said my body’s female but my brain isn’t, would they accept that? I doubt it. They don’t care who I am, they just want to know what I am.
“Are you a boy or a girl?”
What if I can’t answer that question? What if I don’t know? What if I’m afraid to know, or don’t have the information needed to know, or simply don’t care to know?
What if I know but can’t explain it, or don’t want to explain it? What if I’m afraid to explain it, or have simply explained it too many times already?
Do I have to justify myself to these people who don’t know me and don’t care to?
They think I do. With any luck, they won’t care to try very hard. But what if they demand to know? Like the man who followed me that one night…I hope they don’t.
Please, just let me get home safely tonight.

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