I spent a considerable amount of time in my childhood trying hard not to be a girl.
Girls had a lot of character flaws.
Except for tomboy Tina, none of them was very good at climbing trees. They sat together in the park playing with their dolls while “me and the guys” divided up sides and fought the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
Once we caught a frog in the creek and one of my friends stomped it to death on a rock. The girls stood there and cried. I didn’t — at least not until that night in the privacy of my bedroom while I was trying to get to sleep.
Girls — even grown women — cried all the time. But John Wayne never cried. Neither did Davy Crockett, Superman or my dad. If they cried sometimes at night when they went to bed, they never let on.
But learning not to cry was not the hardest part of not being a girl.
And, unfortunately, the rules were not written down somewhere. I had to learn them by observation, and my mother and two older sisters were no help at all.
Mom read me books about a little bear that was shot in his foot, a fawn whose mother was killed by hunters, an elephant made fun of for his big ears and a tiny raindrop separated from his family during a storm. (Why she read me these tear-producing stories while I was in training not to be a girl remains a mystery.)
But, my dad understood the manhood process and assisted all he could. Once, when I was a preschooler, my sisters were playing house and gave me a nickel to let them dress me up in their old clothes, so they could pretend I was their little girl.
My dad walked by, smiled and just said a single word, “Sissy.” That was all it took for me to tear off the dress and bonnet and run screaming from the room. I had a lot to learn in just a few years about not being a girl.
All these years later, I have to wonder why my dad was concerned enough to comment on me in that dress. I also wonder why so many Indiana legislators and U.S. Congressmen are worried — not just about my sexuality, but about the sexuality of everyone.
They are mostly old men, and maybe they all stomp frogs. Or maybe they are worried about their own sexuality and want to do something to make the worry go away. Maybe they just want all of us born with male genitalia to be ready to stomp frogs. I don’t know.
I just know after 78 years of existence that not all people on Earth can be divided into convenient biological categories of male and female. Some contradict the assumption biologically. Many more contradict the assumption genetically and psychologically. People are what their bodies tell them they are. And, if you believe God created all of us, it is hard to reject the logic.
So what is the problem?
I think too many people just want to stomp frogs.
What a sad, confining way to live.
Bud Herron is a retired editor and newspaper publisher who lives in Columbus. He served as publisher of The Republic from 1998 to 2007. Contact him at [email protected].