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Pride Challenge: Day 17

Your first experience with an LGBT organization or event (Day of Silence, Pride, etc)

It was probably Day of Silence that came first.  I remember participating in it wholeheartedly my freshman year in college.  I really appreciate(d) the symbolism of it – silence to highlight the silenced.  These days my job requires me to speak more than I can comfortably excuse under the necessary speaking exception, so I no longer participate – it doesn’t feel right, for that reason alone.  I still support the idea behind it 100%.

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Pride Challenge: Day 16

A picture from your first LGBT relationship or of your first LGBT crush

This particular “relationship” ended poorly, but I am not up for outing them in a public forum, by posting a picture.  They don’t have any importance in my life anymore, but I still respect that desire for privacy.

Instead, I’ll tell you about the picture.

There are three of us – for about a year we did an amazing number of social things together.  This picture is me, her, and him.  I am decked out in my typical university attire – jeans and a pullover hoodie (I assume I’m wearing a t-shirt underneath, given the time of year and what I typically did).  We are coming back from some event on campus at night – the flash lights up all our faces, but the background is dark.  I think she and are starting to split at about this point in time – we never quite had the chemistry, but this was my first dip into that pool, so it’s worth something.

This picture still comes up for me occasionally in my Facebook pictures – I look at it, sigh at what happened after that, and pass on.

My first serious girl crush was also during college (I say serious, because I had a fancy for a moment for a gal in high school, but couldn’t quite admit that I  was bi yet) – she was the same year as I was, super smart, and involved with one of the student politics clubs on campus – I want to say environmentalism, socialism, or atheists.  Or maybe a combination of the three over the years.  I had a crush on her for all of my college years and I don’t even know if she was queer – I know she participated in some events through the school’s LGBTQ center, but so did a lot of straight people.  Oddly enough, given my tastes since, my first girl crush was not very femme.  She had dark brown straight hair and pale skin and I admired her dedication to her social justice work.

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Gender Conversation

I had a lovely conversation with Moss while we were out on a date last night regarding gender, which as a fluid thing for me, can be a bit complicated to talk about, partially because it changes on each given day (roughly), our language lacks words to describe it some days, and some days I just don’t know.

He wanted to know more about my relationship with my gender and seemed to be in the place I often am – where do I start with the questions?

But the question that struck me was “why?”.  Probably because “why?” is always my favorite question and is, I’ve found in most cases, the hardest question to answer – possibly because it involves digging into motivations that aren’t always clear.  I love it because it digs in to what makes people tick, which has always been fascinating to me, both from a physiological and psychological perspective.

I digress.

I identify as non-binary trans because it fits right, like “queer” fits right.  I am bisexual and I am genderfluid – these identify facts about me.  Non-binary and queer, in a way, demonstrate my attitude about my identity: I don’t care what people think about them, I am who I am, and anyone who doesn’t like it, can just go hush themselves.  The trans part is difficult for me – I have just recently embraced that part of the non-binary thing – I don’t identify as the gender I was assigned at birth, that’s a basic definition of trans.  Sometime my gender does round or slide to one or the other – more often to female than male, by quite a long shot – but much more often it just hangs nebulously in the middle.  I also do occasionally experience bouts of gender dysphoria – more often when I am depressed and/or restricted in my presentation options.

But why?  I’ve never felt comfortable in boxes.  It took me a long time to learn to color within the lines.  I was a major tomboy growing up.  I was never the good hostess that my mother wanted me to be.  Grace has been a learned skill for me – it’s not an inherent thing, either physically or socially.  I spent most of my time growing up in the outdoors, wandering around, or in my room with a book.  Exploring comes naturally and easily to me, even if the unpredictability can occasionally set off my anxiety.  I am ok with being the weird kid who never quite fit in, but was close enough to normal that I was never shunned.

As an adult I learned to become comfortable with the more feminine aspects of my personality and style that I had rejected early on, for a number of reasons: 

  • Feminine clothing is not often designed for comfort or practicality (dresses with pockets are a major win for me – I wish I could afford more of them),
  • Foundation makes the patchy bits of my skin which are normally pretty unnoticeable super obvious (just don’t wear foundation, you can wear whatever makeup you like), 
  • Femininity is often read as weakness (I still struggle with this one), 
  • Long hair gets in my face and that drives me mad (so cut it)
  • Breasts get in the way – I did not like having them at all until midway through high school (having properly fitting bras and clothing that either accentuates or hides them based on my gender presentation feels is super helpful)
  • Femininity is often read as submissiveness (meeting strong, no-nonsense femmes has really helped with this)

So, here I am.  A genderfluid (non-binary) tomboy femme.  It fits comfortably enough to not be restrictive, but gives me a few labels that help me figure out my place in this world and in the queer community.

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Pride Challenge: Day 15

Your favorite LGBT quote

Image Source
This one really struck me the first time I saw it.  To me, identifying as queer is important because of the reclaimed aspect of the word – you used this word against the LGBTIA community for so long, now we’re taking it back.  There is power in our language and this quote really goes there for me.

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Pride Challenge: Day 14

Your favorite LGBT song or artist. 

So, I’m going to be cliched here and say Mary Lambert.

When I was dating Minx, hearing her songs for the first time – that was revelatory.  Not that I didn’t think that there was something worth celebrating about being in a relationship with a woman, but that there was a relatively mainstream artist who was celebratory about her queer relationships, instead of sweeping them under the carpet.

Then I heard she was a local artist and that she went to school with Lola.  So, yeah, the connection to her music hasn’t withered at all.  “Same Love” still makes me tear up, each time I hear it.

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Pride Challenge: Day 13

Your favorite LGBT role model/celebrity.

The people who organize queer inclusive events, who are inclusive of the wide spectrum of queer and trans/non-binary identities.

I find that a lot of the people I used to idolize in the queer community have either fallen by the wayside or have some problematic views on gender binaries.

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Pride Challenge: Day 12

Your favorite LGBT movie (or one you’d like to see).

Better Than Chocolate.  Or Breakfast on Pluto.  Depends on what I’m in the mood for – camp or romance.