I thought really hard about not publishing this post on my new personal website. I thought I should maybe keep this sort of “personal stuff” separate from my professional life. But let’s be honest: trans people are visible on special days. We are visible when we die. We are visible in settings where we are advocating for our own rights. But I’m a freedom of expression and human rights activist. I fight structural racism and unchecked surveillance. And I want you to know that we are everywhere, on every day. So I’m publishing this on my new website, which I will use for professional purposes. And I’m publishing it the day after TDOV, because there I am trans every day.
My life has changed completely since I came out as genderqueer almost two years ago. I always knew something was wrong, but I thought it was my social awkwardness, being mixed race but passing as white, having too many opinions…the list goes on and on. The bottom line is that before coming out as genderqueer, I felt disgusting. I felt like a monster, and certainly unlovable. While being trans wasn’t the only source of those feelings, it’s easy to feel like that when your gender isn’t even a word in your language. It’s easy to feel like that when cis lesbian and gay folks are explicitly unwelcoming to you as a young adult. It’s easy to feel like that when gender nonconforming and trans people are the butt of jokes.
For those of you who knew me before I came out, I want to be clear–I spent my 20s trying consciously to “be a woman,” and it was very painful. Every relationship I had, friendship, romantic, or family, was touched by that struggle. I was trying to be something I never was.
I only heard the word genderqueer maybe 3 or 4 years ago. It didn’t take me long to realize it describes me. It didn’t take me much longer after that to decide that I am in a position where coming out is safe enough for me. Today, it’s not only my name and the pronoun I ask people to use that have changed, it’s everything about my life. I relate to the world around me in a way I am proud of. I can even say I’m generally pretty happy.
I can’t say anything about being trans without mentioning that I have multiple privileges that have made it easier for me to come out, not least of all being a light-skinned in a country where being trans isn’t (exactly) illegal. Also, everyone’s story is different, and no detail of mine is part of some essential trans experience.
With all those caveats, I still think figuring out my gender identity was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I’m trans as fuck. Be confused. Enjoy it.