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Honouring My Story

Jul 27, 2016

I'm 20 years old and I'm crying into the steering wheel of my rusty, old 95’ Sunfire. I've finally said out loud that I'm a boy and I stammer over and over again “I just want to be normal. I don't want this to be me."

I'm 21 years old and someone asks, “who would ever want to be with someone like you?” I begin to learn that questions like this will break my heart in a way that no partner ever will. 

I'm 22 years old and a cis man tells me that I will never be able to fuck the way that he can. Then another cis man tells me the same thing. Then another… and another… and another. I feel these words burn themselves into my skin and I see them every time I look at my body.

I’m 23 years old and I finally feel a moment of freedom after my top surgery. But my cage is slowly rebuilt as people continue to misgender me. I shake the bars and yell that I don’t understand why people can’t really see me.

I’m 24 years old and I’m so sick of being hidden from, hated or disliked by the loved ones of my partners. I writhe in guilt for the dissonance I feel I’ve created in other people’s families. I wonder if I will ever be acceptable to bring home.

I’m 25 years old and these are snapshots of my life. I keep them stored in a mental album I like to call “Things That Have Tried to Drown Me.” I would like to say it’s a short album, but it is longer than I would prefer. I am lucky, I am privileged—I struggle to even imagine the horrible photos that follow around others. But I have another album, one I try to keep stacked on top. This one includes memories such as meeting the family of my fiancée, who have shown me only love and acceptance from the beginning. As well as the moment I began to love the scars across my chest, recognizing them as trophies which commemorate that I have fought for my body.

Sometimes I have difficulty in determining how to talk about my journey- which album do I pull out? With the first, often my anger and/or sadness pours into my story. Not everyone wants to know that. There are many people who don’t want to recognize or hear about the hard parts. They deny that those moments are rooted in transphobia and make excuses for the systematic oppression that poisons our society. But if I only open the second album, I erase my true experience. Sure people love to talk about the good parts, and to hear “success” stories. But they fail to recognize that those positive mental photos are mostly made from two scenarios. The first are moments where I learned to overcome aspects of my own internalized transphobia and found some form of self-love or pride. The second set of scenarios are moments where others extended to me the same rights and courtesies that they offer freely to cis people. 

I find that my only option is to honour my story. I refuse to let the bad moments dominate the narrative, but I note that they are present. I remind myself that my past experiences colour my daily interactions. I give myself the space I need to process how this affects everything from having sex to job interviews to meeting a new friend. My “Kodak Moments” were more like blurry shots where the timer failed to go off at the right moment. I think I will tear apart the albums, and create a messy collage instead, because that’s who I am. Those who truly care about me will accept and validate my whole journey and see how it has all come together.

I’m 25 years old and I am normal (okay, I’m weird, but my trans identity isn’t the root of that). I’m 25 years old and I’m engaged, however I don’t balance my self-worth on being wanted by another person, I am enough. I am 25 years old and I definitely don’t want to fuck the way that all those jerks suggested I should be able to. Their attitudes imply they likely need some practice. I am 25 years old and I know that my gender is mine. I’m 25 years old and I am loved.

 

  

TK is a sexual health educator in Kitchener, Ontario. He is passionate about social justice, bowties, peanut butter and feminism. In his spare time you might find him fishing, biking or chilling with his partner and their three fur kids. You can check out his personal blog here: http://aboiandhisblog.tumblr.com 

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