The Boy Who Wore High Heels in First Grade

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Transvestism in Elementary School?

Femme Male Wearing Stockings
Luciano Castelli by Pierre Moliniere.

I have a false memory of my first day in public school All of my classmates walk in wearing military uniforms. I’ve had this bogus recollection since childhood. I’ve always known that the image’s only reality was subjective.

I hate regimentation and conformity. I must have even as a little boy. Else that image wouldn’t have appeared in my brain.

I don’t claim that as a virtue. It isn’t as if I worked at it. People who work at nonconformity are never as individualistic as they think. Many of them attach themselves to some form of that cant word lifestyle. And a lifestyle is a systemization of a group of clichés.

Maybe I resented being removed from the soft balm of motherly and grandmotherly love and becoming an indistinguishable social unit. Not that my six year old self could’ve quite expressed it that way.

An almost unlikely true memory is one that I prize.

His name was Gilbert. There was no way for a little kid in elementary school to not notice him. Even one as impassive as myself.

He was pale, very thin and as tall as an adult.

And he wore girl’s shoes. White high heels. In the early 1960s that was astoundingly exceptional. It is hard to credit. But my home town - at least when I lived there - was sometimes oddly tolerant.

Dimly I recall that I was in school with Gilbert for at least two years. His exterior is all I remember. He must have been much older than the rest of us. I’ve wondered if he were mentally disabled, autistic or …

Perhaps his gender dysmorphia so impeded social relationships, even with his own family that he retreated into himself and was judged as defective.

About ten years later I came to understand my erotic affinity for guys. This opened and would continue to deepen my understanding of hitherto mysterious aspects of life.

At that time I saw Gilbert walking down the streets of downtown Savannah. His appearance was identical with the images from childhood: pale, skinny and wearing white heels.

I was too stunned to feel anything other than surprise. Later I wish I had spoken to him. But really: what would I have said. Whatever it was it would’ve been wrongheaded. It would be a long time before I began to appreciate the diversity of transgender experiences.

I wish the naïve, ignorant boy that I was had been man enough to perhaps offer Gilbert comfort or something.

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Comments

“I like your shoes.”

My probably-false or at least distorted memory from that age is of walking up to the school for my first day of Kindergarten and finding a bunch of older kids hanging upside down from the jungle gym all singing “We don’t need no education.” I remember thinking they were all so tough and large.

Part of the reason I think this is a false memory is that there is of course a chorus of children singing that during the song itself. I suspect that got mixed up with a legit memory at some point.

Your feelings?

Please share your feelings about The Boy Who Wore High Heels in First Grade.
Thanks,
Richard

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