Is There A Right Way To Misbehave?

I sometimes think the whole world is stuck in that old nursery school rhyme:

What are little boys made of?

Ships and snails and puppy dog tails.

That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

That’s what little girls are made of.


From the moment we are assigned a gender at birth, we are shoved into this rhyme. Even if our parents acknowledge that they have independent puppy dog girls and sweet little boys, something in our socialization process requires that most of us hang out somewhere inside the box of this nursery rhyme. And God help you if you try to break out.

Besides, queer*trans* people aren’t even mentioned! Where is our rhyme?

What are little queers made of?

Cells and hearts and really pretty parts

That’s what little queers are made of.

What are little queers made of?

Stress and strife and fighting for life

That’s what little queers are made of.

Heh heh. If only that nursery rhyme had been whispered into our ears as infants. We would have been empowered AND prepared.

But I’m guessing that rhyme won’t go viral, so here we are, “freaks” born into a world that only sees a narrow, binary concept of gender and sex. And even though those of us living in progressive parts of the United States are feeling less oppressed than previous generations, we still have to fight for space; fight to be seen.

I don’t think straight people understand the depth of invisibility that comes with being queer*. I am misgendered every single day. I am generally assumed to be straight (though how anyone looks at me and sees heterosexual is beyond me).

I have to speak up, speak out, get on my soap box, be loud, yell and wave my arms, write blogs, publish articles, shave my head, refuse to back down, stand my ground, fight for my community, fight for employment, fight for legal rights, march in a parade, and carry a metaphorical sword JUST TO BE SEEN in the smallest way.

And then, when I have finally yelled and jumped up and down and waved my arms and pointed to injustice enough times for the heteronormative world to take notice, I hear “Wow, you’re awfully aggressive. What happened to the nice, sweet girl we used to know?”

I will tell you. She’s gone.

I am no longer nice, sweet, and compliant. Nice, Sweet, Compliant Me was violated over and over and over. Nice, Sweet, Compliant Me took care of everyone else instead of fighting for what I knew was right. I stand my ground. I stand up for what I believe in and I fight for social justice.

Why is it that people love the saying, “well-behaved women rarely make history,” but when they actually encounter a woman who is not well-behaved, they attack her? Do we only love and accept women who misbehave in the proper way? I’m not interested in what is proper. I am interested in what is right.

So there.

Stop the hate.


4 thoughts on “Is There A Right Way To Misbehave?

  1. I think that you are wrong. I think that you are sweet, I think that your spouse is very lucky to be married to someone who loves as deeply as you do.


  2. Etalia,
    You say stop the hate. I want you to know that I feel a bit abused by that remark. I had never heard of cisgender prior to your post last spring and a few references made in the months prior to that, and I still feel like I can not really wrap my head around what the term means. I have chosen to just love you and S for whom ever you are even though the terms you use are as foreign to me as is French…I really don’t know how to pronounce the pronouns and at this time I can’t remember what they are. I am not using this as an excuse for my ignorance. I am just saying that some times people aren’t rude, they are just uninformed or they haven’t taken the time to cram one more thing into their brains.
    I support you standing up for yourself. As you do so, be as kind to them as they are to you and remember that everyone is not on the same page.
    Love to you both


    • I am sorry you feel abused by my remarks. When I say “stop the hate,” I am not pointing fingers at anyone specific. I am not saying that all cisgender, straight people are haters. When I say “stop the hate,” I am reminding myself that I need to be part of the solution. I am saying that discrimination and hate exist and everyone on this planet needs to be proactive in spreading the love. I am a love bomb! I hold love and compassion for all people, but I have also committed myself to standing up for what is right and speaking loudly about injustice. “Stop the hate” is a reminder, not an accusation. Maybe I should follow it with “Spread the love!”


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