As my voice, appearance and anatomy will attest, I am not a boy. I like to dress in pink, paint my fingernails, and go to tea parties. Yet people continue to believe I am not female. It's not because I do anything to promote this false assumption, but because my parents were at least 15 years ahead of their time. The year I was born most parents did not name their little girls Jordan. That's what they named their little boys. I learned that very clearly growing up. Every time I met a new adult and told them my name the response was, "Jordan? That's a boy's name." Every time. My favorite was in 7th grade with a substitute teacher. We had a seating chart and he was calling roll. When I answered as he called my name his head shot up in disbelief. He looked at the seating chart, looked at me, looked at the seating chart, counted the seats in the row, and looked at the seating chart again before declaring, "That's a boy's name."
Once I got into high school, things changed. Instead of hearing that I had a boy's name the response to my name was, "Jordan? I have a niece named Jordan." It was also the first time people didn't accept that I was a girl when I said so. There was a boy at the school with my same first and last name. I even got a yearbook signature congratulating me for a sculpture I had in the art room. I had never set foot in the art room. The other person with my name got a scholarship for art. He graduated two years before me and that put the confusion on hold for a little bit. A Valentine's tradition at the school was to fill out a questionnaire and be computer matched for compatibility with other students. During my senior year, one of the geniuses in student council decided I must have been lying when I circled F for my gender. They very helpfully changed my gender to M. It turns out I'm very compatible with a lot of girls I went to high school with.
The last several years have been full of mistakes like this. At least once a month I get a credit card offer politely addressing me as Mr. I get junk e-mail all the time advertising sexy single girls in my area. I can brush all these things off, as these people have never seen me. I was, however, dealt a low blow a few weeks ago while filling out an application for scouting. Most of it had already been filled out for me by a ward member, including my name address, and phone number. The little box for gender had also been filled out...with a big M. At least it was scribbled out and a letter F was placed next to the box. Maybe I'll have to wear frills and ribbons next Sunday as I lead the music in church, just to make sure everyone is clear that I'm a woman.