Pokemon and gender…

I was chopping vegetables for dinner last night when Jeremy walked in and leaned against the fridge.

“If you were a Pokemon, which one would you be? Dialga or Pikachu?”

What? I know who Pikachu is, the annoying yellow one, but I had no idea at all what Dialga was. I separated the onion rings, throwing them into the bowl with the rest of the veggies, then turned to look at him.

“But what if I’m not either of them,” I quipped. I smiled wider when he looked confused. “What if I’m a new Pokemon?”

“Oh god Mom, don’t go there,” he moaned. “There’s got to be like a thousand Pokemon already.”

“And yet you only showed me two,” I replied. “When you said you weren’t sure what gender you were, I gave you a whole list.”

He snorted. “Fine, I’ll get you a list,” he said then turned and hurried out of the room, returning less than a minute later with his Pokedex.

His Pokedex has a highly pixelated, almost identifiable picture that moves drunkenly across the tiny screen. Meanwhile it recites the information in a robotic, feminine voice that reminds me of the car voices in the 1980’s, except more annoying. The first picture it showed was Turtwig.

“Great. I’m Turtwig,” I said then motioned him away from the fridge door so I could grab the cornstarch and club soda for the tempura batter.

He watched the club soda fizz as it mixed in with the flour. “Mom, Turtwig is a grass type Pokemon and will eventually evolve into Torterra. You’re going to have a whole forest growing on your back at some point.”

“Thrilling,” I said dryly. “Now turn that Pokedex off before I scream. That sound is beyond irritating.”

He turned it off and I moved everything over to the stove while he got the dishes started in the sink.

“I have a question for you,” I said as I eyed the oil. It was swirling a bit but not enough to start dipping veggies. “You’ve said you don’t know if you’re trans or not. Is that because you know what your gender is and aren’t sure if it counts or because you haven’t figured out your gender?”

“Because I haven’t figured out my gender yet,” he replied promptly.

“You’ll sort it out. I was reading that some people don’t figure out their gender until their early twenties. It’s not common but it’s not unheard of.”

Jeremy nodded. I coated one of the veggies with batter and lowered it into the oil. It stuck to the bottom, fizzing madly.

“Well, that was a failure to float,” he commented. “No, wait… it’s rising now.”

And then the conversation moved on to other topics.

As for now, it’s Emma’s 19th birthday. Jeremy’s snuggling one of the cats on the couch and I need to make a batch of cinnamon rolls for Emma’s birthday lunch; she’s requested them instead of a cake.

And then we’re off to the family reunion…

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7 thoughts on “Pokemon and gender…

  1. He has more resources available to him than when I was his age a decade ago. Almost nothing on asexuality or the gender queer/non-binary subcategory. Autistic kids have a much higher rate of gender variance and transgender identities than neurotypical types. Just as it might take some kids years to know their career paths or who they are attracted to, it can take him years to know where he is on the gender spectrum.

  2. I was into Pokemon when there were only 150, and the then-hypothetical Mew and MewTwo. I always identified with MewTwo best because he was often misunderstood and considered a freak of nature by scientists and many other people.

    • I’m not sure how many there were when Jeremy started watching. He had a poster with a bunch of them on his bedroom door and a huge card collection but that wasn’t until about 2005 or 2006. He’s been playing Minecraft with a Pokemon mod and it’s encouraged him to go back and re-watch the shows. I just asked Jeremy which Pokemon he’d be and he picked Mew.

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