04/21/2014 11:45 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

I Didn't Know I Was A Boy: Growing Up Without Gendered Pronouns

Harald Sund via Getty Images

I didn’t know I was a boy until my younger brother called me one. I must have been eleven and Tonton was five. In our small Philippine town of Talacsan, my super-Catholic Aunt Rosa was visiting and Tonton showed her a trick I taught him. We found some condoms in my father’s cabinet and I showed him how to blow balloons. The condoms were stashed along with his Penthouse magazines so I knew I shouldn’t be touching them. I forgot to tell Tonton not to show anyone else. Aunt Rita told him he’d get AIDS, and asked him where he got the condoms from.

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