"Such a Boy:" Gender Expression and Bullying

Anonymous asked: "A lot of people have told me that I dress like a boy or that I look like such a lesbian (I am a lesbian but I don’t like being stereotyped). I like the way I dress but that always makes me really self-conscious and the 'You’re such a boy' comment really hurts.

"I don’t think I want to change the way I dress since I hate how I feel in overly feminine clothes but I don’t really know how to deal with the comments. Do you have any advice about what I should do?"

I talked to my friend Missy who leads queer cultural competence trainings to people who work with youth in non-profits and schools. She said:

"You can’t change or control what others say, but you can change how you react or your response. I think finding some kind of witty come back, like ‘Don’t you mean that boys dress like me?’ At my church, we used to have a queer associate pastor who, when finding herself around a table of other queers, loved to comment about how it’s so weird how many men dress like lesbians. It just shows how silly it all is. And some good direct communication is always good. Letting your loved ones and folks close to you know that you’re sick of those kinds of comments and ask them to think of how it might make you feel marginalized. Also, I don’t know how old you are, but if you are in school this could be considering bullying and you could report it. Check out your school’s anti-bullying policy and talk to a trusted teacher, guidance counselor, or your principal. Know your rights! GLAD has a rundown of state laws and can provide legal advice for queer and allied youth: http://www.glad.org/rights/topics/c/students-schools