I am not Ryland – the story of a tomboy

There’s a blog post by someone named Lindsay that I’ve seen a few times. It’s titled I am Ryland. I’ve ignored it until now simply because it was written back in 2014 but it’s still going around (and around… over 10k times). In it, the author explains how her gender nonconforming childhood meant she was exactly the same as the transgender boy Ryland:

The thing she fails to notice is her parents treated her the same way Ryland’s parents treat him. They listen to him and follow his lead on who he is and where his interests lie. My parents were the same way.

Penny the pony

I’m in the yellow jacket

I was a little girl who dearly loved most “boy things”. I climbed trees like a monkey (and roofs and the fences behind baseball diamonds). I collected worms, preying mantises, and spiders. I don’t think my sister Karen will ever recover from my spider collection. If we needed to dig the deepest, run the fastest, or swim the farthest, I was there. My best friends, right up until puberty, were boys and they remained mainly boys until I was an adult. Even now I’m equally comfortable with male and female friends.

Like Lindsay I wanted the privileges of being a boy. I wanted to be picked by my grade five teacher to run across the street to buy treats for the class… a reward that was supposed to be random but only went to boys. I wanted to be a tree surgeon when I grew up; I couldn’t imagine anything better than climbing trees for a living. I thought being a garbage man sounded cool too (driving that big truck) but there was the little word man which stood in my way.

The one thing I didn’t want was to be a boy. I wanted to be myself, a tomboyish girl. I wanted to run and climb and collect bugs without being told to settle down and be a lady. Ladies were boring. They sat and talked and did nothing else. They certainly didn’t lie on the ground to catch bullfrogs and they screamed when they saw mice and snakes, even though they were cool. I wanted to grow up to be a woman.

What Lindsay misses is Ryland isn’t her. He’s not a tomboy who wants male privilege. He’s a boy. He’s not confused. He’s not being ignored. And if something rare happens and he changes his mind at puberty, it won’t be traumatic. He’ll just get a new wardrobe and haircut then go on with his life.

I’m glad that both Lindsay and I had our chances to have rough and tumble childhoods. I’m glad we both had the choice to be tomboys and grow up to be women. And I’m glad Ryland’s parents are giving him the same chance to be himself.

10 thoughts on “I am not Ryland – the story of a tomboy

  1. Oh geez, nothing like a good cry before kindy pick up! I’m glad you wrote that. I have two kids, one is a gender-non-conforming boy and one is a transgender girl. They are NOT the same thing. The video from Rylands family is so beautiful and relates our story exactly.

  2. Lindsay’s original post is gone, and her blog all but shut down. Trying to figure out what happened is probably not too hard: well-meaning but hateful LGBTQ supporters probably spewed hate and filth towards her and her family, and probably a few death threats thrown in.

    What a peaceful community. Pretty sad.

    • You apparently did not read her comment section. I did, several times, and not once did I see any hate or filth being spewed, let alone death threats. There are all sorts of reasons for why she could have closed down her blog. She might have grown tired of writing posts, she might have gotten too busy. She might have started writing as a sort of journal, something to share with close family and friends. In that case, having thousands of people reading her blog, no matter how polite, would have been overwhelming.

      Unless you have actual facts to back your claim, don’t blame the LGBTQ community. That is your overactive imagination, not reality.

      • It’s hard to read comments on a deleted blog, so you will have to forgive me for missing what would have been importantly enlightening. I’m glad there wasn’t the usual deluge of mind-reading comments as I’ve seen all too often.

        As far as facts to back “my claim”, will what I have been witness to suffice? There’s a lot of ugliness around, and the LGBTQ and its supporters are no exception, despite their carefully preened public personae.

        I wish Lindsay the best in her life. She seemed a thoughtful and caring person, describing the outlier growing-up experience tomboys usually have. Fortunately, small kids aren’t terribly judgemental.

      • So you had time to read her blog, never read the comments, and are assuming they would be negative. I’m thinking the people commenting aren’t the ones being negative. There is a lot of hatred aimed at the LGBTQ community. Retaliating towards an attack doesn’t make the LGBTQ community “ugly”. It makes us wary of being attacked.

  3. I appreciate your very interesting blog, and your insightful thoughts on Ryland, and I apologize if I’ve offended you. Feel free to delete my comment, as I seem unable to.

  4. As I said, her blog content, and all the comments, have been deleted. That particular blog item was sufficiently interesting that it was copied elsewhere, and that’s where I read it. Apparently they didn’t copy the comments. Your assumption-making does little to impress me. This is the kind of “mind-reading” from afar that I find tediously tiring, and largely typical of comments and responses I see on this topic. You are displaying the same thing you are accusing me of.

    • I know this might be hard for you to believe but I couldn’t care less if I impress you, a total stranger. You are not particularly interesting, as your posts seem largely based around blaming the LGBTQ community for being mean. If you have something of actual substance to discuss then bring it forth. Otherwise I’ll just end up blocking you.

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