I didn’t like girls.
This mindset has, of course, adapted a little since I was 4, but I just liked boys better. Kickball, soccer, video games - those were my JAM. Still are to an extent. And though I may have enjoyed the occasional game of “house,” after 10 minutes of playing "mother," I wanted to get back to my boys.
Growing up, I always knew I was different. Being the product of a Black father and a White mother had an influence on that frame of mind, but to me, it went beyond what my white peers referred to as my “exotic” looks.
I am a transwoman. Coming to that conclusion – as you can imagine – was a life-long journey.
Much to my father’s chagrin, I would constantly refer to myself as a Tomboy. Whenever I drew a picture of my family, I would always have long hair and breasts, like my mother. Every year during Halloween I would choose something cute and different. Isn’t that the entire point of Halloween? To dress up as something you don’t NORMALLY dress up as?
Which is why I wanted to be a princess at age 8... and then everything went to hell.
I had no idea it would be such a big deal for so many people, particularly my father. Time and time again, my mother defended my right to choose to dress up as a princess but, I didn’t understand WHY she had to even defend it in the first place. Every other costume I chose until then never garnered this kind of reaction. But then I finally heard it.
“Boys just can’t wear dresses or make-up,” said my father to my mother.
..You can gather what follows after this. The ah-ha moment where trans people realize that the gender - or lack there-of - that they identify with, does not correlate to what other people perceive them as. Years of struggle ensue, and after overcoming being misidentified in our community as a gay man, I am so proud of how far I have come.
But am I proud to be a part of the LGBTIQ community? If I’m being honest with myself, I'm not, or rather, I wasn't.
Partly because of being perceived as an effeminate twink gay man, I simply could not relate to the Queer community growing up. Yes, I was still constantly bullied, shamed, and ostracized, but I never felt much common ground with the LGBTIQ people I knew in high school or college. Most of my friends were straight cisgender girls. We talked about boys, went to parties or clubs, and had Sex and the City marathons (I’m a Carrie unfortunately). All of my exes, with the exception of one, were either straight, questioning, or bi. I think I’ve gone to maybe 5 gay clubs in my entire life. Sad, I know.
But 5 years ago it all clicked.
Starting my ‘official’ journey to showing the world who I am, who I’ve always been, changed so much for me. I stopped trying to be something I wasn’t, I stopped putting others' happiness above my own, and most importantly, I brought hope into my life.
I had finally found my letter in LGBTIQ.
Though I’m not particularly a fan of labels, knowing I finally have a place in our community where I feel I belong to helped me overcome my trepidation and near disdain for Queer culture. My entire life, I felt like an outsider to even the outsiders, and I didn’t know if I would ever find a place where I can just be.
But I have.
Every year, Pride [glaringly] reminds me of how far our community has come. But personally – and hopefully for all of us – it reminds me of how far I’ve come along in my journey, and that I will ALWAYS have people in this world that will support and understand me.
Thank you for being my community.
Published on July 17, 2020 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization