I hope someone will take the time to read this because it’s the most important thing I will probably ever write on here……
SO I wanted to write somewhere and I figure tumblr is a safe space. I am reading this book by a trans* guy Morty Diamond… well edited. It’s a collection of stories about “Trans love/ love and sex beyond the gender binary.” Anyway, it got me thinking a lot. It’s all these stories of radical love, radical sex, radical self acceptance.
Here is my little story:
So back in November I was working in a leadership position on the campaign to win Marriage for same sex couples in Maine. It was both the hardest and most beautiful, rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’ve always struggled with my identity, especially pertaining to sexuality and gender. I’ve always been and felt like a woman. But I’ve never know what that meant nor have I cared. As a kid, I rode a four wheeler, knew how to use power tools, but dressed as a bride for halloween. One day I’d wear overalls and a flannel the next a pink dress and pearls. And nothing’s really changed. I’m still the kind of girl who will stick up for anyone, has callouses on my hands from hard work, and can rock cargo pants and lipstick, together. Being strong was never a gender-specific characteristic for me, nor was it a choice.
I’m not going to victimize myself nor will I say I haven’t had a hard life, it’s been a lot of things. But the hardest thing I went through was coming out to the people I loved. I first dated a girl when I was sixteen. I was so proud of my first girlfriend I walked through the streets holding her hand, and if I boy looked her way I’d start a fight. We got spit at, sexually harassed, and when we came out to her parents, she was no longer allowed to see or talk to me. It broke my heart and for about a year after I sobbed, wrote poems, and painted naked pictures of girls- classic queer teen age girl activities.
With the exception of a few, including my mother, my family did not react well.
And so back into the closet I went. And maybe it wasn’t a closet, maybe it was just a room…but it was a square room with defined walls and I was miserable.
I went on to be involved in several long term relationships with men- who I do not deny loving very much. But often, the relationships ended in turmoil- because I I couldn’t fit into the box of a womanhood they wanted me in. Nor could I appreciate their masculinity- I was bitter towards men and sadness and anger cultivated in me and I directed it towards them. It was a dark time, and I said and did many things I am not proud of. To these men, I am sincerely sorry.
And then I came back out. I dated this lovely girl who I also didn’t treat as well as I should have. She was supportive and kind. But I still felt like I was playing some role, some role of womanhood, some dominant role over her, some role of lesbian identity. I had to choose, was I dyke or femme? It felt just like the heterosexual world in a way…and I didn’t feel like me.
She and I broke up (well parted), and I felt completely lost. I got depressed. I struggled with substance abuse.I I blamed everything on gender. I hated men. I hated women. I felt like my identity and my sexuality were a lost cause- or better yet- a disaster.
People in my life told me I was going to hell (close family members that will not be mentioned), that I was disgusting, that I was in a phase, that I would grow out of it, that I was trying to get attention… others made me feel embarrassed and ashamed for who I was.
For over two years I hadn’t had sex I felt good about. I had hated my body and I hadn’t truly been comfortable with anyone else’s either. With men, I would cry after intercourse, I felt like I was being raped even though it was consensual I had sex often because I felt like had to…With women- I still I felt used and under-appreciated. I now know the issue wasn’t them- it was inside of myself.
I felt disconnected from my self and from others.
And although a few things helped me get out of this mind set (ESPECIALLY YOGA)…it was Keagan that helped start to love myself again, and to feel comfortable in my own body…especially while laying by someone else. He guided me on an intrinsic journey into my infintiely complicated self.
This is sort of ironic, because Keagan is trans*…and I feel like the assumption is that trans* people feel uncomfortable in their bodies (and perhaps many do, including Keagan)…but regardless… he made me feel more comfortable in mine (and I hope I’ve done the same for him).
We met in a way that I like to think of as fate.
We were at a queer conference, one that I had decided to go to last minute. I walked in the WRONG room and sat down. It happened to be a discussion on transgender issues. And there he was. I looked at him and felt like I had known him from some other time, some other place. Classic. He struck me instantly. I had never really known a trans* person (not closely at least)….and I would soon find out I was in for a totally new experience.
I was terrified to talk to him that day. I wrote my number on several pieces of paper, walked up to him, only to turn around as he did and run away. I don’t know what came over me, I am never shy. When I left, I thought I would never see him again. I called my mother that night and told her I had met someone special and needed to find him.
By more workings of fate, I mentioned to a friend I had met Keagan. She happened to know him, and behind my back (thankfully) passed my number along a line of lovely queers -eventually getting it all the way to Keagan.
When he texted me I swear my heart did a funky little dance. Our first texts were so awkward…him…so what do you think of —— about trans* guys…me…. what???? I’ve never dated a trans guy?? …what????
I was a bit scared to say the least, in the best of ways.
The next time I saw him was election night. As we anxiously awaited the results I gawked at him from across the room. Too nervous to interact and too distracted my my campaign peers and our hard work.
And then it happened. Our hard work paid off. WE won marriage for same sex couples. I cried. I screamed. I knew that this was the most important moment in my life. All my blood , sweat, and tears…turned into something tangible and real in queer rights. I had done something to make the world a better place for my friends, myself, and all the queer people to come in the world.
The most important night of my life became even more important- as I fell in love with someone who would soon change my views on the entire world without even trying. I grabbed his hand, headed up to a friends hotel room. The night swirled by, we talked to dozens of people, spilled out story after story, shared our first kiss. People asked us how long we had been together, shocked that we had only just met.
It all happened so quickly, and suddenly, I was deeply in love with this person. And I felt comfortable, and safe, and much of my confusion and hurt about my own identity just drifted away.
Of course, I did question some of it all. I wondered what Keagan was like before. I worried that I might be a lesbian and being with a trans* guy meant I couldn’t be. I worried that I might punish Keagan for being “too male” I worried that I might not be supportive.
But none of that matters now, because I love Keagan, as a person- apart from a few words that society forces us to put on ourselves.
Keagan and I are beautifully complicated. We as people have layer after layer, and he and I peel the layers off of each other one by one. He is not just male, not in body or mind. And claiming that my mind is solely female is limiting the wholeness that is me. When I start to worry about gender- Keagan reminds me that at the end of the day; it really doesn’t exist. Who decides what is a male characteristic, or female? Who says we have to be - or love- one or the other?
Keagan and I switch “roles” all the time in various circumstances…and I believe these roles have very little to do with gender.
In a world where I felt so smothered by the gender binary, Keagan has set me free. He’s made me realize I can love myself for exactly who I am, gay, straight, bisexual, queer, male, female… that I have the power to choice to not give into pressure. He’s taught me love is far bigger than stereotypes, judgement, labels, boxes, and fear. He has helped me find joy, pleasure, and comfort in the tiny details of life and relationships.
When I am scared, he keeps me safe.
When I dream and hope, he supports me.
When I’m sick, he helps me get well.
When I’m strong, he’s proud.
When I feel ugly, he reminds me I’m beautiful.
He is so brave.
He is so strong.
He is so beautiful.
He is so kind.
He is so sensitive.
He is so soft.
I have never, ever, met someone like Keagan. There is something to be said for someone who can dig at your soul, and extract all from within you that is raw , pure, and human.
Although Keagan has a million radiant qualities, when I am reminded that Keagan is trans*…I don’t really think of his gender anymore.I think of transcendence He has transcended all of these limits that we humans have placed on ourselves, he breaks and shatters the binary -to be more purely himself in his existence than many of the rest of us will ever dream to be.
I am sure Keagan has his own version of this story and I would love to hear it, but the end of my story is this:
I accept myself, for exactly who I am, right now, and you have helped me get here.
I am insanely, completely, stupidly, brilliantly, head over heals- in love with you… with your mind, your heart, your body, and your soul.