Regular Gay

ultragay

The opinions we inherit from parents, the environment that we grew up in, the internet (new to those of us who witnessed modem evolution) influence how we see the world. The fact that I was not even familiar with the existence of transgender men until 2015, attests to this fact.

Considering that I got all my information about trans women from television (sitcoms in particular), and they were mostly represented as weird outcasts, it´s hardly surprising that I never made any attempts to go beyond this  empty representation, and do some research of my own. I just enjoyed the show, and forgot about it.

This hardly applies to transgender issues alone. We are bombarded on a daily basis with information, and fed the most eccentric and glamorous pieces of news, so we´ll consume some more. The more far-fetched and fantastic, the more glamorous and alternative, the better. This is great, because it provides recognition in society.

The downside of so much glitter and glamour is that your average, super-boring stories of gender nonconforming, asexual, bisexual, and whatever-sexual people, are never being heard. It is still a big deal to come out of the closet, and when you do, you find yourself wondering if people will view you in a different light.

I for one prefer not to associate myself much with labels. Not queer, not gay, not straight, not completely asexual, not completely mono-amorous, not into this or that scene. Not staying at the YMCA and also not drifting along the canals of Amsterdam during Pride Parade. I don´t feel a need to do any of those things.

Do you want to associate with labels because they make you feel more at home, because they describe you, or help you get recognition? Do you prefer to carry a handbag, or mascara? No problem!  The point is the diversity, not just televised and advertised diversity, but the one that is expressed by all of us, regular people.

Coming Out Day

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On this day, Facebook reminded me that it is International Day of the Girl. A day to stop, think and support equal access to healthcare, education, and basic human needs for every girl on the planet, independent of background. The banners hanging on the outside of our train station this morning also reminded me of something else. It is Coming Out Day!

One day after this date last year (I was a little late to the party), I came out to my friends on Facebook, and gradually came out to members of my family later on. And although a special day to come out may seem nonsensical (why not come out on every other day of the year), it was an opportunity for me. An opportunity to write about how uneasy I felt with my assigned gender.

Unfortunately, I don´t have the exact post in question anymore, at least I don´t think I do. The privacy infringements of our online world have led me to carefully erase my steps as I go along – thereby sort of erasing my past as well. Admittedly if someone really wanted to, they could probably delve in my past and still find the post on a database somewhere. Ah well.

In short, I don´t remember the exact wording which I used to announce this radical change. I wrote in the style that I usually do on social media, cheerful and with a pinch of self-mockery, expressing how much this meant to me yet trying not to make a huge big fuss over it eiher. It worked pretty well too, everyone reacted surprised yet positive and very accepting.

For those who have yet to come out I just want to give you some of my advice. The first thing I want to say is: it´s gonna be okay. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but it will be. Cultivating radical acceptance towards yourself – and not apologize for who you are – can be a big scare, especially if you´ve been trying to adapt to expectations around you.

The one thing in life that we know, is that we know nothing. Radiate who you are, and people around you may surprise you in return. They might be inspired by your renewed confidence in yourself, by your words of honesty and the trust you are giving them in sharing this news. Staying true to yourself is a gift to this world. Don´t forget it.

I Found Them

polyhearts

I am experiencing the kind of exhaustion that sits right between giddy euphoria and full-blown panic attack. Hopefully I will be able to finish my post before the latter happens. Breathe. Just breathe. It was challenging, sitting through three lectures at the “Outside the Binary Day” that was organized by the LGBT+ community in my city today.

The first one was held by an acquaintance of mine. The room was small, it was crowded. My awareness zig-zagged from people next to me, the crackle of their clothing, the sound of people coughing, swallowing, fidgeting. From time to time, I heard what the lecturer was saying, while internally, I admonished myself: “don´t panic, don´t panic“.

It was difficult not to. My heart rate skyrocketed out of control from time to time, and I took several time-outs to visit the bathroom while people were speaking. Washed my hands. Splashed some cold water on my face. Looked at my reflection in the mirror, inhaled deeply, exhaled, went back again. This was what my entire experience at college was like.

Still, I held together pretty nicely. The lecturer informed us about the Free Pathh movement (links to my older post), which has been held simultaneously with the ridiculously expensive WPATH conference this year, as well as in Bologna. We spoke about empowerment versus victimization in transgender healthcare.

The second lecture I attended was about non-monogamy. It ended up being a very interesting discussion on how to manage labels and internal tensions in polyamorous relationships. It was less crowded, and the people were very active, listening and reflecting on each other. This was exactly what I´d been looking  for.

We spoke about the transition from monogamy to polygamy and how to deal with it. I also asked how I could network with polygamous people in my city, and this is when they invited me to attend their meetings, which apparently do take place but could be found nowhere on the internet. I rejoiced! These seemed like people I could really connect to.

Despite it being a challenge to be a normal person and participate in conversations like these, I am glad I tried. There were about ten workshops that day including other gender and sexual topics, but I was just too tired. I had been looking for people I could talk to about relationships and polyamory, and found just that.