WANTED Project Podcast: Episode 105 – Amy
Welcome to the Wanted Project Podcast. I’m happy to introduce you to my friend, Amy.
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Hi, My name’s Amy, and this is my contribution to, um, the Wanted Project Podcast. So, um, I guess I kind of consider this as like the “It gets better campaign” for lesbians and gender non-conforming females (GNC).
So basically, I’m going to be talking about myself, But you know, I’m going to try not to make this like a narcissistic sort of navel gazing. Like “this is me, and this is what I do and isn’t this great?” And more, try to connect, you know, what I do in my life now, and my life experiences to a broader sort of, um, message about thriving – about how we can thrive as GNC females and how we can kind of be there for each other. And to know that there’s a lot of us out there, and that you’re loved and that you’re wanted. And, there’s….there’s a lot of different ways to be yourself and I kinda wanna present my experience with that.
So, um…like I said. My name is Amy, and I live in St. Paul Minnesota. I’m originally from NJ. I live here with my partner of 7 years. And we stereotypically have, you know, 2 dogs and a cat and we’re very, very into our pets. You know how that goes.
So – and that’s basically my day to day.
I’m not going to talk too much about the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. It was the most important probably influence on me, personally. But I feel like you really had to be there to understand it. And I’m not really going to get into an explanation. I want to move forward with other projects for females to sort of embrace ourselves.
Um, So I guess I’ll start chronologically with my childhood. And we’ll kind of build up from there.
I was always, you know, a tomboy….a really masculine butch child. I was mistaken for a boy all the time. My family hated it. (laughs) They were…Whenever I would get mistaken for a boy, I really didn’t care. I didn’t see what the big deal was. So what…If someone thought you were the opposite gender, I didn’t really think it was the end of the world. But my parents were very embarrassed, you know, and they’ve come a long way and they would never admit to it now. But, it was very difficult for them.
And I think, if I, you know, if I had grown up in this generation, I don’t know if they would have considered to raise me as a female. I don’t know. I don’t know what would have been worse for me – is them trying to enforce female socialization on me or actually transitioning me into something that I’m not.
Anyway, so it was never, um…when I look back on it…it’s….I don’t think it was ever really about, you know, wanting to be a boy. It was very much about recognizing, you know, the mobility and privilege and freedom that boys had, and that girls weren’t allowed to have. I didn’t have the language for that. You know, um, I wasn’t reading feminist literature at 10 years old, so I didn’t really have the language for that.
But looking back on that now, I think that’s really what that was, is I was just rejecting the way I was being socialized and it kind of came out as “wanting the world to see me as a boy”.
So now, I mean I live in the Midwest, and I look like this. And surprisingly, I get called “sir” a lot less out here. Because, this is your typical Midwestern farmer woman. This is basically what they all look like. So, I can’t even tell when someone’s a lesbian out here (laughs). So you think, being in the Midwest, they’re a little more conservative and they would have more stricter gender rules. They actually kinda don’t. Straight women look like men all the time out here. It’s really weird.
You know what – I am occasionally called “sir”, I don’t care and I don’t really correct the person. Usually when I open my mouth to speak, and they realize that I’m a female, they get very embarrassed, you know, and they are very apologetic. I guess I DO understand why that is, but, um, I basically end up feeling bad for them. Um, so like I said, it’s not really a problem for me. I think, who I am…like anybody, who we are…is very much connected to the time period of history where we had kind of formative years.
So, when I was in high school, it still was not ok to be out. Noooobody was out.
I think we all kind of knew who the gay kids were, but, you know, we weren’t allowed to say anything. Fast forward a few years later to college, and now all the sudden it was cool to be gay or to be lesbian identified question your gender….stuff like that.
People questioning their assigned sex, or questioning their assigned gender…like that really, it was just sort of starting, but it wasn’t the kind of mainstream out there.
So you know, basically, um, in college, when I was introduced to uh, you know, feminist, literature and theory, plus coming out as gay. Um, you know, there really wasn’t…People weren’t really questioning those things. So for me, that’s kind of why I became basically a gender atheist.
Instead of this idea that there are several genders to choose from and you can pick which one you want to be, and that’s your identity. Um for me, it just shouldn’t exist, gender. Gender shouldn’t exist at all. It’s a pretty simple idea. I just really wasn’t able to wrap my mind around choosing which gender you wanted to be, when it’s an institution that just – we shouldn’t have it.
And I think it’s very conservative to try to insist that everyone has a gender. What the fuck. No we don’t! (laughter) It’s like saying that everyone has a unicorn. Like it just doesn’t exist.
So yeah, this is the time where I kind of made my formative identity. And how I understand myself. So, what this means for me now is I don’t, I don’t really feel connected as a peoplehood, or a tribe, so to speak, with Gay people, or necessarily queer people. Like, I don’t feel like, you know, “gays are my people” or “Stonewall is my history!” I really don’t feel that way. Um, I feel much more of a kindred tribal connection with other females. These are the people that I share a history and a peoplehood with. Straight women, whatever, you know, female children – anybody who is female.
And even in my priorities and how I vote. As far as voting goes, like, I don’t give a shit who you know, a lawsuit over who wouldn’t make cupcakes for whose wedding. I just don’t care, when, you know, we have things that effect me as a female…even though I don’t have sex with men, um, abortion and birth control are basically my most important political issues that effect me as a member of the female class. They have more direct consequences for me than anything – than gay marriage, than expanding any sorts of employment rights or whatever.
For me, those things….It’s not that they don’t matter, they’re just not a priority for me personally and politically. Ok. Needless to say, like I don’t go to Pride. I don’t really feel a part of that culture whatsoever.
Um, and, so that’s, you know, that’s basically my history of how I came to have the opinions that I have and the outlook on life that I have. I want to kind of talk about my life now, and the things that are important to me and the things that I do.
Um, I’m hoping in a way, um, I want to kind of give an image of, just, you know, my personal growth and how I came to, how I currently navigate the world as a GNC female, and the things that I do to make me happy and fulfilled.
So – uh – I have too many hobbies, and I’m good at none of them, is basically what it comes down to.
Um, I play guitar and I write songs. I’m really into learning um, Semitic foreign languages – that would be Hebrew and Arabic. My partner is Israeli, so I have someone, I have someone to practice with. And I just – I really like this feeling of being this kind of, you know, Indiana Jones, like deciphering this old ancient text and stuff like that. So…um… I do that. And, uh,
But the thing that takes up most of my time is, um Brazilian Jujitsu. When I’m not at work, I’m basically training uh jujitsu. If you don’t know what that is – it’s basically a grappling, like a wrestling sort of form of martial arts. So, um, I don’t have a video of me doing it, because I’m pretty self conscious about people seeing me.
So, I’ll just show you my gi here. And as you can see, I’m still a white belt – which means um – I’m really not that great at it. (laughs) It’s something, that, like everything in life, I kinda do it at my own pace. Everyone I train with, almost everyone, is male, and about 10 years older than me, and a lot thinner than me. So, I have, um, I guess what you could consider several disadvantages when I show up every day. (chuckles)
So, I just kinda try to do my best. But, I mean. And, I’m hoping to, you know, eventually some day I’d like to maybe teach you know, a women’s self defense course, or do something to make this very practical.
Because it’s all…There’s no striking. It’s just basically using leverage of people’s bodies in order to choke them, or get an arm bar or a leg lock, or some sort of submission where they either can’t breathe or they’re in pain or they can’t move. It’s all in a controlled atmosphere, so there’s nothing sadistic about it.
But um, so yeah – with this specific sport, um, this has made me feel more connected to my body than really anything else I’ve ever done.
So as far as this gender dysphoria that I still carry…even though I’ve read all the theory, and all this stuff, and I’ve worked on my internalized misogyny, blah blah blah. You still always carry it with you a little bit.
But this, this sport gets me more in my body than anything else I’ve ever done.
It’s the most difficult thing physically that I’ve ever done. And, the way I can push myself to get my body to do things, um, I’m just… I’m just constantly surprised at the things I can do. Um, you know, I’ll drill something for, like a month, or something, and finally be able to pull it off on some big dude or whoever. “Wow, I can do that!” You know?
So that’s…um…I would say for anyone who’s experiencing gender dysphoria, I wouldn’t make any suggestions on who should or should not transition – I don’t know anything about that….but…
If you can find a way to get into your body physically, and just intellectually, the way something like martial arts does. Um, that has given me just the confidence to be in the body that I’m in more than any other thing.
Um, and so, you know, I’m hoping to continue that. I’m hoping I don’t get, you know, plowed over by a 25 year old, uh, you know, muscle hulk or whatever one day. It probably won’t happen, but I don’t know.
So, um, yeah – I’m just basically…you know, I just work a job that’s just “whatever”.
But, uh, this is, you know, these are my goals and this is kinda what I do – and I’m hoping um in this video I was able to present an image of, you know, of a different kind of life – of someone who walks through the world looking like this. And dealing with the assumptions that people kinda make…And as I get older, I kind of give a shit less about that. (laughs)
And I was able to… I didn’t really get into some of the more difficult things. But, I you know, was able to sort of find a way to be in my body, and to live a fulfilling life…feeling isolated from gay and queer culture, and feeling isolated from mainstream culture a lot of times, because, like, you know, people that look like this can be threatening depending on who you’re talking to.
And finding a way to deal with my dysphoria, and finding also creative outlets for myself. And finding a wonderful partner and little child pets, you know. So, um, yeah, I hope I was sort of give an image of that.
And if you’re out there – you’re loved and you’re wanted…and just be yourself and you’ll find it – you’ll find your way.
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Thanks, Amy, for submitting your video. If you’re interested in participating in the Wanted Project, please check out wantedpodcast.com, and find out what it takes to participate. We’d love to have you.
And remember, you are wanted, you are loved, and we want you to know it.
~Mothers and Daughters
Womyn born Womyn
and we gather in the light of the August Moon
Amazon Womyn and we’re out in the woods
And we heal by the light of the August Moon
Deaf womyn, hearing womyn
dancing in the light of the August Moon
girls and womyn in the Michigan woods
and we love by the light of the August Moon
First time I came to festival
I learned I’d always been afraid
To finally lay that burden down
I could not believe the weight…~