That term “Gender Nonconformity” is pretty daunting. Why would I, a committed macho-type heterosexual male, dare to venture into this semantic minefield?
In 1961, the 4-H Club came to Skipwith Elementary School. We were still considered a rural area at that time, before the few farmers remaining sold out to the developers. There were two teachers, facilitators, I guess they would be called now. There were two programs offered, Insect Collecting presented by the male teacher and Home Economics, facilitated by the female. The unspoken cultural norm was that the boys would sign up for the Bugs, the girls for the Cooking and Sewing.
I signed up for Home Economics. I had no real interest, at that time, in collecting insects. The wonders of entomology had yet to seduce me. I did, however, have some interest in cooking and the other “Domestic Arts”. I was the only boy in Home Ec. I do not know if any girls signed up to catch bugs, kill them with ether in a jar and present them pinned to a board. The point is that it was no big deal. Nobody said anything. My mother was not concerned that I might become a “homo”, to use a contemporary term. She always welcomed any help around the house.
I did learn a thing or two. It kindled an interest in cooking, cleaning, and interior design that I still have. Regrettably, there wasn’t much focus on sewing. I could have benefited from learning sewing. I wish I had pursued it.
“Gender Nonconforming”. A boy takes Home Economics. A girl collects bugs. It seems the term inflates the significance and obfuscates the reality of what’s actually happening. I don’t mean to disparage anyone dealing with these issues and encountering difficulty. I know that this is a very tough issue, from what I’ve read from my blogging colleagues. Simply put, my experience in doing a “girl-type” thing was, all in all, rather benign.
To all you Gender Nonconformists out there. Rock on!