The Lipgloss “Problem”

I’m what you might call DMAB. It’s an acronym. It’s how kids these days talk about gender. It’s how they talk about identity. And, being Designated Male At Birth has led to some issues for me. I sometimes call it “the lipgloss problem.” Folks always thought of me as a man (and raised me to be one) and I have always loved and loved to wear feminine, or “traditionally womanly” things.

This is so hard to talk about! The fact that we have “traditionally womanly” things seems like the real problem. When I was 3 or 4 years old, mom took me to the doctor. “Something’s wrong with his spine” she said. She was very concerned. The doc assured her that I was healthy and that my spine was growing as it should. “Then why does he walk like that?” She said. I was so young and so amazing that my tailbone tilted back as I glided along on the balls of my little feet, swishing to pre-school. I walked like a girl.

This is so hard to talk about! The fact that you know what I mean when I say “like a girl” seems like the real problem. I’ve realized over the years that there are a few ways to solve the lipgloss problem — there are a couple of ways to address being DMAB and loving to wear eyeshadow:

  1. Surgery and/or living as a woman.
  2. Working to broaden the definition of the term ‘man' to include people who wear eyeshadow.
  3. Going on a 15-year Buddhist sojourn to discover that, in various ways, we all transcend the restrictive categories of man and woman and we all deserve plenty of space to express who we are.

Oooooh! Oooh! I pick number 3! All of the above options are valid, of course. People have a million ways to craft the life they want. Personally, I found happiness when I realized that the lipgloss problem actually has no solution because it isn’t a problem.

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