Summer Camp

Someone wrote…

As a camp counselor, I have to be binary. This means telling the girls that, yes, I am a girl. For a few months out of the summer I live this lie and repeat these hollow words over and over. That’s what the world wants at this point. How many parents would send their children to a week long, residential camp run by strange mixes of the “only” genders?

Meanwhile, I fight for feminism. I am mostly myself, with my non-feminine appearance and eschewing the traditional trappings. Each child is met with acceptance and respect, even if they are covered in pink and glitter and make-up and jewellery. I extend the olive branch. Many take it. I hope to be a visible reminder that “girl” does not necessarily mean “girly”.

If they choose to pursue interests that extend beyond what is socially ‘normal’ but genuinely interest them, I have helped the world. If they can apply these lessons to the people they meet in the future, I have helped the world. If they feel most comfortable in society’s vision of “female”, I have done nothing wrong. If they have fun at camp, I have fulfilled my duties.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on November 28th, 2014 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 2 comments »

2 Responses to “Summer Camp”

  1. radical/rebel

    I worked as a camp counselor and was openly trans-identified!

    ALSO, “what kind of parents would let trans people be around their kids?”
    Answer: queer parents. trans parents. and parents who have queer and trans friends! having kids doesn’t automatically = not being trans friendly.

    this is really important to me b/c I’m trans and work with kids in a lot of different roles. I hope collectively we can keep breaking down the stigma around queer and trans folks mentoring youth. <3


  2. Anonymous

    This is actually really an interesting story to me personally because as someone who just finished up their last CIT year and is planning to become a counselor next year. My all girls camp was one of the first places I came out. Though I now generally identify as genderqueer, back then I did not really have much of a label besides cross-dressing/not-really-girl/not-really-guy. Even so, I got a lot of positive responses (including one camp friend who the week after pretended to yell at me for applying “arbitrary gender binaries” when I called a misquito a he).

    Still it is different when one is around the kids. Though every “No offense, but you look like a guy” can be met with a proud, “Yes I do”, there is still the need to identify as either male or female. But to some of the campers who may be untraditional in dress or identification, being there can be really inspiring even if you never say anything.


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