bITS 'N CHUNKS
Well, hello again friends!
I apologize for my absence, I've been wanting to do a little website work here and there (namely ironing out my blog tags and overall website presentation) but shit's been happening and life got in the way like it does. The reason I'm daring to show my face right now besides the fact that it's charming is...
Recently, I've been able to participate in a couple of projects based around religion/spirituality and marginalized groups, specifically black & brown (or POC if y'all hadn't ruined the label already) and trans people of color. As a nonbinary person I do fit in somewhere on the trans spectrum and that's been one thing I've been trying to come to grips with. Do I "deserve" to be trans? Because I present femme a majority, what does it really look like when transphobic violence affects me?
The thing that helped me a lot in transitioning emotionally was meeting queer elders first. It's one thing to participate with people my own age, but seeing the elders of any scene is a reassurance of resilience. And trans elders are incredibly important as statistically, the average life span of trans people is horrifically low and plummets for trans women, and plummets lower for black trans women.
Simply put, it is fucking dangerous to exist as trans. It is not nor has it ever been nearly as fun or easy as cis folk might think. When I see my black trans elders, I defer so much and I am so grateful. In my case, my nonbinary elders are by and large white which kind of says a lot about its own situation, but even then I am grateful.
For this most recent interview project, I felt heartened because I was invited in by someone who identifies as genderqueer, which was my original orientation until I shifted over into the general spectrum of NB. Coming to terms with myself in those times, there was the question of whether NB people belonged under the transgender umbrella and that was incredibly scary. It came from cis people (lol why are you HERE?) and it came from other (binary) trans people as well. Seeing my elders then made me feel a little better but it just felt like there was no home. I was told every which way to go start my own and after a while I asked myself did I actually need the trans label? Was I just being selfish?
So I lived without. In a way, I still live without. Not sure if that makes me a coward or not though I lean towards yes. It felt really good to have that confirmation from my own community that "yes, you belong here" but old habits die hard.
The old habit of dwelling miserably on presentation. For a week I thought about my appearance. I didn't want to femme it up because then I just look like a girl. I'm not. I should be allowed to do that and still accept my gender ID, but I feel like social media puts so much focus on NB femmes slaying for the gods and I don't feel like being fetishized anymore. Then I said, I'll just go masculine. But again, why? What does a truly neutral appearance look like? I'm not against it, but I had to consider my appearance as well.
In the end, I settled on what you see up top. I used a simple foundation and finishing powder and lipstick. For some reason, whenever I take casual trips outside I end up in a sleeveless turtleneck and jeans. That worked. I wore heels too, because y'know? Yeah. I felt good. I felt workable.
Prior to this, I had a conversation with a friend on Instagram regarding representation and feeling. I feel like all trans people go through the phase where we ask if we look trans enough. If we look how we feel. If we're passing and how much of our lives we put out there. What's at risk for not looking perfect and sometimes for even looking one hundred percent. And if you don't wish to pass or look traditional? God, god! It's easy to mull over for a long time, especially if you're someone like me and you've not had any fellow trans friends in real life. I do now and I suppose I could have always had them, but I was so frightened of looking... I don't know, regular. What does that mean? This is the kind of stuff you mull on without community. It sounds stupid as hell out loud but you really go through it. I don't want people to have to go through that for years on end and so I'm offering myself up on the altar of representation. Because representation matters and visibility, for better or worse, is important.
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...