Laurie Evans is many things—daughter, friend, student—but that’s only part of why she’s amazing. See, Laurie doesn’t just function in society; she challenges society’s deeply ingrained gender norms just by existing as herself. Inspiring, right? But wait: Who is herself? We’ll explain.
Laurie is one of a growing number of people who were born female, but identify as “da man”. Sure, it might sound a little odd at first, but once you hear Laurie describe her experience, it becomes clear that society is the one with the problem. I sat down with Miss Evans to learn more about her complicated identity.
Laurie and I met up for breakfast, where she was upfront about her identity right off the bat.
“Who da man? I’m da man,” she said, as she loaded up on waffles while pacing the length of the breakfast buffet. “You wanna bet I can’t eat all of these? Five bucks. I’m da man.”
It was then that I knew my worldview was about to change.
I asked Laurie how long she’d been publicly identifying as “da man”.
“Haha, I don’t know,” she told me. “I guess I just picked it up somewhere; probably on the b-ball court. I dominate the court! I’m da man!”
Laurie is not alone. It is very common for young women who identify as “da man” to be inspired by women in their community, or even on television, who identify as “da man”. This is one of the many reasons that representation of women who identify as “da man” in the media is so important.
As Laurie and I were finishing our coffee, a young woman approached us from across the dining hall.
“Hey Laur,” she said (the two clearly had a rapport). “You going to practice later?”
“Yeah, man,” Laurie replied.
I looked up, startled. This girl was obviously another woman who identified as “da man”. Once she had gone back to her table, Laurie confirmed:
“Yeah, I guess I did call her ‘man,’” she said casually. Clearly, to Laurie and her friend, calling each other “da man” is just part of everyday life.
There were two things that I took away from this interaction. One, it’s important for women who identify as “da man” to have a support network of people who share their identity, and two, women who identify as “da man” come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. After all, Laurie and her friend were not twins.
After a conversation that felt all too short, it was time for me to go. Laurie was off to her first class of the day, probably in the gender studies department (I’m guessing). As I packed up my things, she said, “Alright, man, see you around!”
“O—oh,” I stammered. I wasn’t sure what to say. How do you explain to someone that, while you do not share their chosen lifestyle, you aren’t offended by their assumption, that you’re actually kind of…flattered?
I decided it was best not to say anything. Why make a big deal out of it? Everyone makes mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. After all, Laurie Evans is a human being—and that’s something we can all relate to.