The word ‘tomboy’ is often used by cishet society to invalidate the experience of young transmasculine people and attempt to keep them in the box they were assigned at birth. Easily written off as a phase, or even celebrated as the eschewing of feminine “weakness” while still retaining biological femininity, the dissonance can be harmful and confusing to trans and nonbinary people who are exploring their identity at an early age.
I refused to wear dresses and loved playing in the dirt. I climbed trees and would opt to embody the family dog if I couldn’t be the father when I played house with my friends. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s that I realized the queer throughline of my life, after many years of confusion and moments of desperation and darkness trying to figure out where I fit into the world. The resources or public role models to understand my own experience didn’t exist in the 90s and early 2000s.
Heteronormative society continues to inflict violence on trans people in a myriad of ways. The worst, of course, being attacks that result in the loss of life. But there are many smaller acts of violence that happen every day to all trans people everywhere that make them question who they are, if they are valid, and if they are worthy. Thankfully, I had the privilege of having extremely supportive family and friends who allowed me the safety to explore who I was at my own pace.
It feels poetic that the first instance of true gender euphoria I experienced was my first pair of TomboyX underwear. I’ve finally arrived at my full self, out and proud, performing as a Drag King and using the privilege of my visibility to help other queers find their home in the community. Unbound by the constraints of society and reclaiming the Tomboy name every time I step into my favorite boyshorts.