so I work at a jewish camp and in the past, almost everything has been separated by gender. boy cabins and girl cabins, boy activities, girl activities, etc. last year I tried to explain to some of the staff members about trans and nb people and they didn’t really get it. a few of the staff members went to a program called cornerstone right before camp and learned a bit about gender and sexuality. when I got to camp we did pronouns and later in the week we had an actual program about gender and they staff members ran everything by me first and allowed me to correct them through the program and asked me to share my experiences, since I’m the only open nb/trans person on staff.
that whole experience alone was incredible and difficult and amazing and I had people coming up afterwards asking me all sorts of questions from “what does cis mean” to “how does gender relate to sexuality” to “what’s your personal identity” and by the end of the whole thing, I felt like I had helped open up the minds of so many people. not everyone’s opinions changed of course, but a level of respect was reached that had never been reached before and that alone was amazing. we degendered a lot of things around camp and even though things are going slowly, there are changes being made.
and then today. oh my gosh.
I was sitting with the youngest age group, the “aleph girls” who are all between ages 7-9. on the first day of camp, everyone writes their name on their forehead or arm or another visible place. one of the campers, who had been going by the name ketsia was sitting next to me and I saw that the name jake was written on his arm. I asked why that was there and I didn’t get an answer, just a shrug. I asked if that was the name that he wanted to go by and he said yes. I asked if he wanted to still use she/her pronouns or if there were other ones he liked better. he said he liked he/him pronouns and I was like “ok, awesome, thanks for letting me know jake” and I told his counselor who had been one of the people at cornerstone who ran the gender program earlier in the week and she was tearing up because she realized just how real everything she learned was and we used the name jake for the camper and some of the other campers were confused and so I explained in very basic details and they were all like “ok, jake is an awesome name” and yeah they had a little trouble with the pronouns but they were so good about trying and we’re all super supportive and it was just such an incredible moment like a child came out to me as non-cis and the religious camp that I’ve been going to forever supports that and just
I want you. I want all of you. I want you inside and out and catching your breath and aching for me like I ache for you. It’s never been a secret. I’ve never tried to hide that from you. I’ve never pretended I wanted anything less