I am a Queer Millennial. Here’s My Journey Through Gender Fluidity | Opinion

  • This story is for OutFAU, our student publication covering Florida Atlantic University. To see more from OutFAU click here.

Andrew Zerrato. Courtesy photo.

The language in LGBTQIA+ community has grown so rapidly over the last couple of years that I often feel ignorant.

I graduated high school back in 2011 and the closest thing I experienced to any queer or gender expression was the emo and scene kids. I found that a high percentage of the alternative scene was bi – including myself.

Wearing eyeliner, nail polish, dye in our hair, and wearing skin-tight clothes (all things I did at home behind closed doors) was normal and expected. Although ridiculed and bullied by most outside groups I found comfort and friends who didn't care about being my awkward, femme queer self even if I didn't have the words for it.

After graduation I went to college and went to work, trying hard to keep up with social media. I was never popular, so I usually just went on for memes and vines.

When I turned 25 I started to hear more about the argument between sex and gender. For a while, I was adamant about there being only four genders: male, female, intersex and transsexual.

When people challenged this it brought up a lot of personal issues, since I experienced my cousin’s transition, which solidified my belief. Unable to see myself as a woman, I knew that there was no way I was “transsexual", yet I always felt soft, pretty, effeminate and womanly.

Raised in a Colombian household where “machismo” was the norm I worked so hard to hide my softer, more emotional side. Trying to maintain this idea that I was a normal straight guy pushed me to be physically fit and forced me to be emotionally repressed since “boys don’t cry” was exhausting.

Even now I struggle with this idea of what it is to be a man and whether or not I am fulfilling my role as an emotionless provider.

It wasn’t until about 3 years ago at age 27 that I started to look into the ideas/theories of gender fluidity and expression, finding a lot of myself in these experiences. The more I researched – the more I began to question my entire existence, relating more and more to this idea of being fluid in my gender expression.

Realizing that my emo/scene days were the closest I was to feeling pretty and womanly was interesting, putting on makeup and doing my nails. Although this does not define womanhood, I remember sitting with my mom and sisters while they did their nails and makeup, I would be brushing their hair just having a kiki and bonding.

Going out with eyeliner and a little ChapStick boosted my confidence like nothing else. I recall my mother telling me that a little lipstick and a strong walk will take you far. Knowing that I was this macho bro walking around like no one could touch me – yet I felt pretty – was wild. I hated how much joy girly things brought me but loved how confident and strong I felt.

I now identify as a gender-fluid cis male, which sounds a bit confusing, so I’ll explain. I was born a biological male who looks and expresses mostly male, but also confident and comfortable with my femininity and ability to express it. The more I look into gender and sex the more I realize that it’s nice to have titles and categories for yourself, but it also limits what it means to be a “man” or a “woman.”

As I explore who I am, and how others present I’ve come to a simple realization, we as humans are all multifaceted beings with masculine and feminine energies.

I implore anyone who reads this to strengthen your connection and understanding of these energies within yourself and explore your identity; you can always go back to who you were told to be.

Andrew Zerrato is a 30-year-old FAU student. He is studying to be a social psychologist and lives with his partner of six years and their two chihuahuas. 


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