Boi’s Corner offers a masculine of center perspective on life, love, and everything in between.
All bois were once little girls. I was always a tomboy — a dirt-in-the-skirt, lose barrettes at recess while playing with the boys kind of girl. I was never the girl who was invited to double Dutch; it was like they all knew that I wasn’t like them. I was more interested in trading sports cars than lip-gloss.
Lots of girls go through the tomboy phase. When you are a little girl, there is a place for that. I could wear my baggy jeans and Jordans during the week, because on Sunday at church, I was going to be the young lady that my parents expected me to be. That meant sitting on the front church pew with a dress, thick stockings, patent leather shoes (with the scuffs), legs crossed at the ankle, and hands folded in my lap.
The thing about the tomboy phase is it doesn’t last past puberty. Right around the time when the hormones kick in and girls get their first periods, there is like a natural sorting out process. Most girls begged to wear make-up and heels. Skirts got shorter and boys became items of interest instead of disgust. Boys were never that interesting to me. And I wasn’t ready to let my tomboy style go. I was able to extend its life because I was an athlete. Girl sports teams were a safe ground for girls in sweats and sneakers and boyish swagger. But eventually the gig was up. The older I got, the term “tomboy” seemed less and less appropriate, especially as I was acknowledging my same-sex attraction.
There was a period when I tried to blend in with other girls. I wore make-up, heels, and kept my permed hair fresh. Even though I presented a feminine aesthetic, I still had a “boyish” essence. There was something about my walk (like my father), my speech, and other mannerisms, that were still not “lady like.” Eventually there came a time when I could no longer fake the funk. I was feeling restricted by my feminine performance and I had to find and express my true self.
As I became more involved in the lesbian scene, I learned about the spectrum between studs and femmes, and navigated my position in between. As my exposure grew to a more queer intellectual space, I was exposed to theories that challenged heteronormativity and learned gender roles. Through this, I discovered that embracing my masculine energy and aesthetic was essential to me living wholly and authentically.
– By Gwen Rogers
Gwendolyn “Gwen” Rogers is a native of the Washington, DC area. She received her B.A. in History from Spelman College in 2009. By day, she works in a law firm; at heart she is a panelist, activist, motivator, and bourgeoning editorialist.