birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


I grew up playing with dolls and wearing dresses and my patent leather mary jane shoes My brothers wore blue jeans and high top Converse All Stars.. My mother, like all the mothers in the neighborhood, stayed home, did the laundry and ironing, and had dinner ready when all the fathers in the neighborhood got home from work. It was the natural order and I never questioned it. I was comfortable with it.
I am still comfortable with the gender assigned to me at birth. Being pregnant, giving birth and parenting two children have been the most rewarding experiences of my life. Because of those joyful years, I will except death graciously when my time comes. Not that I'm unhappy now or in any way anxious to check out, but I feel I have lived a life with few regrets of unfulfilled ambitions
Through the years, however, I've come to realize that my comfort level with my assigned gender is not universal. As a child in the 50s I heard adults talking about Christine Jorgensen who had a sex change surgery. I didn't understand much about the situation, but it was the first seed planted in my consciousness of gender issues. I first heard of homosexuality when I was in college. Really! I had no idea. I read Giovanni's Room and decided that love is love regardless of what anyone outside of the relationship might believe.
During my years as a stay at home mom, I watch discussions about transsexuals on the Phil Donahue show and I asked my tomboy preschooler if she knew she was a girl. “Yes, Mom,” she told me. “I know I'm a girl. I just like boy things.”
When the same daughter came out about her homosexuality in her twenties, I became an advocate for LGBT rights and met courageous transmen and transwomen who were lobbying for equal housing and employment rights in a hostile Ohio legislature.
Just as our cultural understanding of gender identity has evolved over time, so has my understanding of the fluidity of gender.


Thinking Out Loud