I will never forget December 1994. I was three years old, and I had just gone to the movie theater for the first time to see what would become (and quite frankly still is), my favourite movie of all the: The Lion King. All of the kids in my new daycare (I had transferred from Hebrew daycare to French daycare) were OBSESSED with the Lion King. We would play the Lion King, sing The Lion King songs, all had Lion King lunch boxes and backpacks. My friend Adam and I would spend hours at his house just playing the soundtrack over and over, playing with our Lion King action figures. Adam was sort of a funny kid like me, he was VERY feminine and his Mother was starting to fear that he may be transgendered. This was irrelevant to me. Adam was a lot of fun, and I loved playing with him. However, I much preferred playing with him at my house where we were both safe from his bully of an older brother Primo. Years later I have no idea why I decided to date Primo, I can safely say nothing has changed. Primo loved to come into Adam's playroom when the two of us were innocently playing with out Lion King toys, and step on them, and push us around.
For Christmas that year I got a Nala stuffed animal from my parents. It is still my most treasured possession, and at the age of 21 I still cannot sleep without that toy! That Christmas was also quite interesting. We of course went to my Grandfather's house, who had since remarried to a woman with 5 daughters. One had just overdosed on drugs, and my step-grandma and Grandfather had just become the legal guardian of her four year old son. Luckily ever since the Lion King came out I had a pretty good grasp on what death meant (at least for a three year old). When I got to my Grandfather's house I was immediately introduced to my new "cousin" Anthony. He definitely made my Father's side of the family a lot less boring, and the two of us got along right away. He was the first person however who ever branded me as a tomboy. It was one day after Christmas when he came over to my house for a play date and told me "you know, you act a lot more like a boy than a girl. That's why I can play with you because you're not yucky." To be fair, the only girl I could really stand playing with was Alex who was a lot like me, and had all of the same interests. At school I spent all of my time with the boys, and found the girls strange and could not seem to relate to them.
This really amused Anthony who used to love torturing me with odd questions such as "why don't you like pink?" or threats such as "for your birthday I'm going to buy you a Barbie!"
One day it was seriously annoying me that I did not like normal "girl toys" and went to my Mother and asked "mom is it strange that I don't like Barbie's?" Which sparked a whole lecture about gender stereotypes, and social norms. I guess that comes with having a social worker for a Mother. I do remember her saying "it doesn't matter what anyone says, I think you're perfect." As usual my Mother lavished so much attention on me that I just couldn't see myself as "odd" or a "tomboy."