On Being a Mirl

Over the past year I have spent my nights in restless struggle to define my identity in a way that is both internally coherent and comfortably safe in the web of relationships that enmesh me. I am 67, with 63 years experience as a secret crossdresser. Only in this last year did I come to the end of my ability to keep my secret. I am determined to come out as myself- to heal the damaging internal split that left an empty space at my core, and hollowed out all my relationships.

In an early morning dream an answer came to me- “I’m a “mirl!”, a male girl. It was the perfect mirror term for ‘tomboy’- simple, immediately understandable, and even sounds good when spoken or subvocalized when reading. Any parent can now proudly say of their son- “He’s a mirl!”

I’m not a sissy- as I learned to define that cruel and pejorative term: timid, weak, a target. Instead, I am male and self-reference as a girl. I’m comfortable saying “I am a girl”. I don’t like ‘genderqueer, or genderf*ck’,where gender is burdened with unnecessary adjectives. “Non-binary” is accurate but talks about what I am not. I accept and sometimes use “transgender”, meaning I’m bridging the culturally accepted ideas of duality that afflict so many of us as we try to express our gender.

Tomboys are a recognized and reasonably well accepted class of females- and we mirls will welcome at least that much breathing room.

I’m delighted to say ‘I’m a mirl”. “Male girl’ usefully clarifies two dimensions of my gender. It is inclusive- I am male [anatomical gender] and have girl [social and cultural gender] interests and desired expressions. captures the broad outlines of the experience of many males, andIf you are male and have any girly feelings, behaviors, clothing preferences, etc., you’re in!