This IS my path forward

A trans person’s journey to reconnecting with radical self-love

Photo courtesy of author.

Day 4 of Creating Change. I’m sad it’s over and I wish it was in person, but I am changed. And I don’t say that lightly. Like all the other days, there is too much to share. I want to share a moment, a learning I didn’t expect, which even that grew outside the bounds of an Instagram post.

In a convo, we were asked to talk about shared trans love, and I struggled to think of trans folks who I have felt loved by. It immediately filled me with shame, because I’ve met trans folks, I’m “facebook friends” with trans folks, I know trans folks, and I know that I am loved by many trans folks.

In all my time on this planet, I’ve really only created a deeper connection with a handful of humans, AND even in those relationships, I often notice me hiding myself. Fortunately, I was able to share about some of those cis folks in my life. They have been lifesaving. I have been very loved, and I have never truly thanked them for that love.

As I sat with the knowing of just how hidden I continue to be in my life, I saw the direct impact that choice has had not only in my relationships with trans folks, but with all folks.

I relentlessly distance myself, hide myself, and wall up in ways that make building real connections with others, an impossibility. A couple years ago, I said something that I continue to learn from. In acknowledging why I didn’t enter a space, I said, “I wasn’t excluded; I just didn’t allow myself to be included”.

In these recent months, I have increasingly chosen to identify as “non binary”, openly, and with more people. Most people don’t know exactly what it means and it doesn’t seem to impact their lives, so there is little resistance. It’s barely even noticed. Subconsciously, I believe that’s why I chose that language. I chose non-binary because it feels safer.

Let me be clear here. I am not saying the world is safe for any non-binary folks. Non-binary folks face violence, oppression, and a colonized world that doesn’t understand them (or us). This is especially true for BIPOC non-binary folks. However, when I came out as “non-binary”, I knew I was choosing the safer option.

At this point in time, we all know the backlash transgender folks often face, the transphobic violence, disowning from families, the cut off friendships, not being the right “fit” for jobs, and so on. I chose not to connect my pain to that label, hoping that then the struggles wouldn’t hurt me as much. And, that is where shame hit me hardest today.

I’ve chosen not to identify as trans, while so many other trans folks, specifically trans women, and most specifically black and brown trans women, are bravely identifying as trans, in face of all the violence, creating a world where I could more safely be seen in my wholeness. I’m still sitting with that shame, but I’ve also reconnected with my truth.

I am humbled and inspired by folks who have been reaching out to me this week, affirming my courage, and really building me up. I do believe I have been the cause to a ripple. I know I have helped other live freer lives, just as so many people have done for me. But I haven’t been living as freely as I want to be. And, today I came away knowing I owe that to the community, and to myself.

I am trans, trans femme maybe, non-binary certainly, but factually trans. I want to be trans. I want the world to see me as trans. Only by living this truth, can I show up in the movement in the powerful ways I imagine. I am still anxious about coming into transness, publicly and personally, but I am in awe of the knowing. This IS my path forward.

When I came out to my now ex-wife, I don’t recall if I used the word trans. It was a rather emotional moment, so the details are blurry. But, I did write a follow-up letter, in which I wrote, “ If I was to wake up tomorrow, as a woman, in a woman’s body, I wouldn’t be upset. However, I also have no current desire to change my biological anatomy or hormones.” Attached to that letter was a photo from the Gender Spectrum, of a transfeminine non-binary person and their partner. I said, “this is how I want to feel”.

So, I am trans. Maybe transfeminine non-binary, but trans for sure. Now you know a trans person (if you didn’t already). Keep following my journey or message me if you want to know more. I will continue to write, reflect, process, feel, and grow. I don’t have it all figured out yet, and maybe I never will. I think we did some good work today though.

2021 is gonna be one hell of a year.

Have lovely night friends ❤

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Zoe (they/them) is trans femme non-binary who often writes about their journey to (re)connect with radical self-love and doing other rad things 👠💪🏻💋❤🏳️‍🌈

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Zoe

Zoe

Zoe (they/them) is trans femme non-binary who often writes about their journey to (re)connect with radical self-love and doing other rad things 👠💪🏻💋❤🏳️‍🌈

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