Whenever I tell people about my study abroad experience, I blush a bit. I spoke three European languages in college and was a major Francophile, but for my semester abroad I went to English-speaking Cork, Ireland to study the tin whistle. Why the tin whistle? Well, in a roundabout way, it was about a boy–but not in the way you might think.
I’ve recently started rethinking a period of my life that I’ve found embarrassing for a long time. The whole experience sounds like a familiar story of a kid with a crush on a cute rock star, but I’m starting to understand that it was actually about finding permission to explore my own gender identity.
Let’s rewind a bit.