Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Confessions of a Grown-Up Sissy-Boy

 

 

I worry about the sissy-boys of the Earth.

Call us whatever you like (gender non-conforming, non-binary...), it used to be that sissy-boys got shit from bullies, and from those who, when the world outside doesn't match the world inside their heads, respond with hate.

We still do, of course. But now, I fear, sissy-boys face yet another—if different—kind of violence.

I was a sissy-boy. I liked dolls and dress-up and imagining. I wanted to be a dancer. My friends were mostly girls. If you had asked me, Would you rather be a boy or a girl, I could easily have told you.

Goddess bless them, my family (mostly) let me be me. It was only outside the home that I learned that it was wrong to be who I was. Believe me, sissy-boys get shit from pretty much everyone, adults included.

That kind of opprobrium is in itself a motivator.

Now I worry that sissy-boys are facing a new kind of social pressure: not the pressure to conform, but the pressure to transition.

If, as a child, they had offered me hormones and the prospect of surgery, I would probably have taken them. Goddess help me, I would probably have taken them; and that decision would have ruined my life.

Why in the world does anyone care so much? Why are they so insistent that we change our bodies, or our souls, to meet their stupid expectations? We're part of the natural variability of things. Why can't they just let us be as we are?

The world is cruel to sissy-boys. Many of us don't survive.

But let me tell you something about sissy-boys, and what I tell you is true: those of us that do, somehow, manage to survive the hatred, the bullying, and the well-meaning but ill-considered attempts to “fix” us, are some of the strongest people that you will ever meet, anywhere.

We are, because we have to be.

If you are privileged to be the parent of a sissy-boy, lay off. Don't think that you know better than he does; you don't. Just let him be who he is.

There's nothing wrong with him, body or soul.

Just let him be who he is.

 

Above: Caue Frias

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.

Comments

  • Katie
    Katie Saturday, 27 March 2021

    Beautifully written. It expresses so much that I’ve thought, over the years.

    Similarly, I worry that strong, independent girls, or girls who like sports, or whatever stereotype applies, are convinced by the culture around them they must be boys, because that is (still) what they are told boys are like.

    Transitioning can be a blessing to those who truly feel their body does not match their soul.

    But I can see that as it becomes more acceptable, it becomes a “fix” for those who do not match society’s stereotype du jour.

    I have never doubted I was a woman. But I can tell you, that people around me often would tell me “men like x” or “men are like x”, usually traits like liking to feel good about themselves, or liking to be respected, or liking to direct their own lives.

    I have never thought: “well then, I must be a man”. I thought: they are wrong in their assumptions. People like these things. People do these things. People are a lot more varied, and a lot more similar, than what society perceives.

    The spread of the bell curves that define “men” and “women” are a lot wider, and more overlapping, than some people assume.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Saturday, 27 March 2021

    Thanks Katie. It took me a long time to figure out that there's not just one way to be a man.

    To this day, in the pagan community, I hear people starting sentences "Women...." or "Men..." followed by some sort of ridiculous generalization.

    When I respond: "Well, I'm a man, and I don't [whatever]," they look away and change the subject.

    Tom-boys and sissy-boys of the world: Nobody gets to tell you who you are. You're the one that gets to make that decision, nobody else.

  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz Sunday, 28 March 2021

    The day is coming when technology will allow people to be physically genderless. Some will chose this path in life and how will we all deal with that?

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Sunday, 28 March 2021

    Sissy-boys, Asian-Americans, Pagans, etcetera if people want to be heard they have to put out the art, music and stories that say this is who I am. If you don't produce a vision of America with a place for you in it you will be left out.

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