That’s the personal narrative this reader struggled with:
I’m a genderqueer and male-identified but assigned-at-birth female. I am so glad Conor is writing about this [“The Understudied Female Sexual Predator”], even if I don’t always agree with his writings (I’m much less of a libertarian than he is). Your reader stories by men were sad to read, but they also made me not feel so alone in terms of going through my own experience.
It was only after really dealing with, mentally, my rape (by a female) that I could even start to tackle issues of my own gender identity. That is, the predominant narrative of rape as “male perpetrator/female victim” really did a number on me in terms of thinking through my gender identity—deciding to transition to a more male body—because I was like, “Wait, what did this mean that I was raped by a woman? Can I really be the dude I think of myself as?” Etc, etc. My rape meant that actually devoting time and energy to thinking about my gender identity was delayed for almost 20 years, which is a shitty way to go.
In the end, I’m glad these dynamics are getting more covered by the mainstream press (versus just LGBTQ publications). Those of us who’ve been isolated for so long at least have more narratives to connect to.
Our reader’s own narrative started two decades ago:
I went to law school as a pretty confident person. I had done a lot of non-law-related stuff, and I was hoping legal training would allow me to be a more effective advocate in areas I cared about. The first part of my 1L year was fine. I met a lot of awesome people, broadened a lot in terms of thinking about the world, etc, etc. I also had a study group of people I mainly hung out with.
One of the people in my study group was X. I thought we were friends. We had a similar way of zippy dancing and a similarly energetic attitude towards life. We had the same birthday. Like I said, I thought we were friends.
Then came our law-student LGBTQ-group party. I drank too much, passed out, and woke up to X fingering me while I was slipping in and out of consciousness. I was not proud of the amount I drank that night. But, given my state at the time, I couldn’t stop what was happening to me, because I wasn’t particularly coherent.
And yeah, yeah, it’s the regular date-rape situation, I know that. It took me at least a day or three to realize it wasn’t particularly consensual. You might ask, “WTF, why didn’t you realize that right away?” But when you’re in that moment, it’s hard to understand. It’s a lot to process. It’s hard to figure out. It’s just, well, a lot at once, and if your brain is like mine, you would just rather think about other things (nerdy nerdy administrative law things) and just ignore it all. Which is what I did for a few days. Until I emailed X about it and was like, “You know, I really didn’t consent to any of that.”
Her response? “Yeah, if I were a guy, I guess it’d be rape.”
And so here was my response to X, which is enumerated because it’s easier to think about things in terms of enumerated lists: