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Gender Diaries: Hilton Dresden

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Photography & Styling: Kristtian Chevere

"Call me a girl. Call me a boy. Call me trans. Call me a freak."

"What are you doing?" asked the toddler boy from his stroller, gazing up at me as I ordered an iced coffee in a floor-length, powder blue gown at the cafe next to work last Tuesday.

I looked back down at him and met his gaze, before quietly muttering to myself, "I don't fucking know."

I don't feel prepared to assign myself any one gender label at the moment--it all feels rather trivial and unnecessarily complex for me. That's not to say labels can't be good--if someone wants to call themselves a woman, they absolutely should, because they are, and vice versa.

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But in my case, I feel best letting anyone refer to me in whatever manner works for them: to the drive-thru people at McDonald's who have without fail addressed me as "ma'am" upon hearing my shrill, headmistress-like croak through the intercom, I smile and nod pleasantly, accepting their classification. To my friend's little sister who asked me in high school, "Are you a boy or a girl, because you look like a boy, but sound like a girl," I say, "You're the first person who's ever said I looked like a boy, and I am both shocked and intrigued to hear more." To everyone out there on the street today who saw a strange, frizzy-haired creature that looks something like a hybrid between their Great-Aunt Bertha, the Orphan Annie, and Golem, I say: "I'm just as confused as you are."

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Photography & Styling: Kristtian Chevere

My fashion's evolved over time, as has everyone's: I went from an Abercrombie polo with Hollister cargo shorts in eighth grade to a houndstooth cardigan with a sailboat brooch later in high school to what I typically wear now, which can only really be described as, "my elderly female kindergarten teacher moonlights as a gothic twink." My way of dressing reflects how I identify in its irreverence: I don't consciously pick out a Victorian-style frock because I want to be associated with a certain spot on a constructed spectrum. I model myself after the gay ghost of Mary Todd Lincoln because it's what's fun and comfortable to me.

Call me a girl. Call me a boy. Call me trans. Call me a freak. You can all be right because I don't care and am happy to be told I'm anything. And to that toddler boy in the cafe, I think I've got my answer: I'm just trying to have a good day.

Originally published on Milk.xyz.

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