Happy New Year Kings, Queens, and Conquerers! As we begin to face our resolutions to slim our hips, get rich, and find love, I'd like to take a moment to examine the words of perhaps the most iconic Queen of all time...
"If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" - RuPaul
I recently had a personal struggle that I'd like to share with you all, but first I'd like to clarify that I understand that there are millions of people worldwide who are affected much more drastically by this issue. However, I have learned to not diminish any form of suffering by comparing it to another. Each is valid and worth understanding.
FIRST THE BERG:
As a child I always seemed to fit in more with the boys. Even at 21 years old I can probably count the number of really close female friends I've had on one hand. But, despite my boyish manner and my apparently boyish frame, (according to recent comments on how manly I appear), I do in fact identify as a woman. I've often felt it necessary to tone down or hide my boyishness in fear of finding myself ostracized by both boys and girls. Honestly, there have been times when I've been told that I don't know who I am, or that I'm lost just for being something other than what people expected me to be. I'm a woman with short hair and a flat chest. I'm a bisexual woman. I am an in between. And, in this world of black and white I am damn proud to be silver. I've come to understand, thanks to modern science and a generation hell bent on science and equality, that gender itself is a spectrum, yet some still seem stuck to the idea that whatever labels society places on your box must be adhered to without question. I could post statistics and facts about the recent discoveries regarding gender identity, but I've learned that this is one of those topics that facts alone can't quite crack. So, I'd rather share some experiences from people I know who haven't always been loved for who they are or how they look:
"I’m constantly misgendered even though my family knows that I go by a different name and pronouns every where else. I haven’t experienced bullying exactly, but by being misgendered by my family sure does feel like it. I am hoping that one day we won’t have to come out of the closet and we can just be who we are without explanation."
"Growing older I began to notice that all my friends, 90% males, were treating me different because of the annoying lumps on my chest that seemed to explode from nothing to a B-Cup over one month in the summer when I was 10. The girls were vicious and the boys thought I was gross so I mostly kept to myself. Around this time my PCOS started to develop. This lead to a sudden and extreme increase in all body hair, even in places girls just shouldn't have hair. The hair itself was fine, I didn't mind it at all, sometimes I even liked it but I wasn't so naive that I didn't see how it changed how others looked at me. I never really thought much about the idea of gender, I mean I was just me, did it really need to be more complicated?"
"I've known I was gay since I was about eight years old, but I knew I couldn't tell my family. I felt so ashamed of my feelings that I convinced myself I was wrong for having them. I thought surely I was just misunderstanding myself. When I finally did meet someone who made me feel safe and loved enough to admit who I was, they told me they didn't recognize me anymore. Just because I said I was attracted to girls."
NOW LET'S MELT IT:
I know everyone doesn't have a support system at home. Sadly, there isn't much I can do about that except let you know that you, yes you, are always welcome at my home, and whether you are 5 or 65 I will feed you way too much food, ask pestering questions about your life, and fix your hair with my spit-- just like mama taught me. For now, since mama El is a bit out of reach for most of you viewers, I've talked to actual mothers and here is what they had to say about their babies:
"I want my son to always be comfortable, even if it means he wants to change things about himself. Whether it's just being gay, or wanting to transition, I just want my son to be happy. Seeing his little baby face and thinking of who he will one day be, I only ever want him to love life."
"I would say we love you anyway you think you are. We would walk along side them and be there as they unravel their feelings. Love is the most important factor...not changing their thoughts or feelings."
"I would hug the child and probably cry because they are hurting. I would thank them for talking to me.I know that discovering your self is a life long journey and I still struggle with it. I think that being uncomfortable in your skin is a very common condition for a thoughtful and caring person."
"It wouldn't change my love of the child. I wouldn't push my personal belief, but I would also ask that they not try to convince me I'm wrong. Everyone has their own beliefs and decisions to make. They don't have to be the same. That doesn't make a person bad."
"As far as how I would react, I would just stay strong for my little guy because I know he'd probably be scared. We've tried to create a loving dynamic for him where fear doesn't need to come into play. I've told him time and time again that love is love and that he can like whatever things he likes."
So, for 2019 I challenge you to make a resolution to not just look but to see, to remember that we're all just skeletal meat hangers, and to ask yourself not "Do they look like me" but "Do they look happy".
P.S. I'm serious about my offer to be your surrogate support system. My email can be located on the home page of this site, and there's even a convenient email form under "contact me". I don't care if you're a stranger. I love you.