Personal Essay on Gender Identity and Expression


1 Sources:

Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon






How did I come to understand my gendered self? I think I came to understand my gendered self when I got to college, and started to explore what I was drawn to. By that I mean, I felt like I didn’t need to be the person I was in high school anymore. In this new space, I felt like I had this new freedom to explore and experiment with my identity. People that I met in college we’re very different from the people that I surrounded myself with in high school. My freshman roommates Natalie, Harper, and I, became friends with two other freshman across the hall from us, named Charlie and Hannah.  Hannah and I ended up becoming very close friends my freshman and sophomore year. we would go to thrift stores and find clothing and paid things out for each other and whatnot. Anna dressed like similar to the skater boys that she hung out with in high school. She didn’t identify as queer, non-binary, or anything, she never liked labels. At the time, I took that as she was the same as me, someone who liked to dress differently and play around with their appearance. I felt OK dressing more masculine because of her. And then I start to question things as we became friends in my junior year….



Please continue this personal essay about “myself” adhereing to these guidelines:


Personal Essay: Write Ourselves. 25 points. Length: 1000-1500 words

This is an opportunity to write an essay grounded in story and your experiences, which means working against many of the academic conventions we all have learned.

Your personal essay is based on your experiences of sexuality/gender where you reflect upon those experiences and then, once you’ve reflected, a claim or an argument is made implicitly about gender/sexuality. Each essay should tell us about your personal experience. It must also answer the question: what can we all learn about gender/sexuality from your experience?

In addition, remember to break some of the rules of academic writing. Write me a story. Most importantly, write that story in a way that makes the reader feel or experience a bit of your experience. That means I expect you to play with style, genre, formatting. Add images. Play with color or font of the text. Write poetry or include a drawing. Multiple languages are welcome! (African American Vernacular English, Spanglish too!).

As you center your stories of understanding gender (expectations, performance, etc.), your essay, will address these questions: How did your experiences, insights, embody how language constructs, expresses, and/or represents your gendered identity (as you define your gender)?

Your essay will bring in other voices and ideas, from your readings, this class, other courses, and your life.  This is your evidence, the way education meets life. How may your personal experience be reflected in, support, shift or change a particular feminist theory or practice (like intersectionality for ex.)?

IMPORTANT: If your story includes any sexual assault, violence, discussions of hate or hate speech, or anything else that could be difficult for your classmates, please add a trigger warning to the title of the thread.

IMPORTANT: If you are not ready to share your personal story with the entire class, then we can do some peer reviews more privately. Email me if you are worried or feeling nervous.




Also please submit 500 words following these guidelines, you can imagine it, bs it idk:


Personal Essay Reflection (submit here as a separate file)

When you finish revising your Personal Essay, write a 500-600 word reflection that reflects on your work and this class:

  1. What did you learn from your peers, this class, or the readings?
  2. What did you discover about yourself?
  3. Regarding the personal essay: What made it easy and/or hard? What problems did you encounter, and how did you solve them? What did you do that was most helpful? What additional challenges or joys did you discover in the process of writing a personal essay?



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