1. How do you identify your gender or sexuality?
I identify as a Transman / queer .
2. What does identifying this way mean to you? Are these labels a core part of your identity, or are they incidental to who you are?
When I first came out, my identity was a crucial component of who I am. After almost 6 years, they feel secondary. I’m trans but I’m so many other things, I don’t see it as the most interesting part of me.
3. What do you enjoy about being a part of the queer community? What positive experiences have you had as a result of identifying this way? How have you come to understand yourself better through the way you have labeled (or not labeled) yourself?
The queer community can be a mixed bag in terms of how welcoming and supportive people are towards non-cis individuals, but I don’t think I would be where I am in terms of self-acceptance if not for the people I met through pride, youth groups, and community engagements. I feel like being trans gives me a unique perspective of the world, having lived on both sides of the gender binary.
4. What hardships have you encountered due to being a part of the queer community? How have these hardships impacted who you are as a person or how you identify?
I’ve experienced discrimination and bullying (in high school) because of my gender/perceived gender. It’s hard every time but I think each incident makes me stronger and more aware of the risk I’m at just existing in this world. I’ve been called slurs and gawked at, a bouncer tried to physically remove me from a men’s restroom once, it’s all just petty stuff that stems from ignorance.
5. Do you label yourself differently in different situations/with different people? With yourself?
I’m always just a guy in terms of gender, but with some groups of people I identify my sexuality as straight as opposed to queer. I could be conceived as straight since I’m mainly attracted to women, but I’ve been in relationships with other trans guys as well as nonbinary people so I just prefer to not label my sexuality. A lot of people don’t understand that though so sometimes it’s just easier to be ‘straight’.
6. What is the facet of your identity that you identify with most strongly apart from being queer? What would you want someone else to know about you before they judged you?
I am a scientist.
7. If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?
It’s cliched but it really does get better and easier with time, you keep growing and evolving every day.
8. If you could say one thing to queer youth experiencing similar hardships to you, what would it be?
Trust that you know who you are better than anyone else, some people may not believe that or refuse to see you for who you are, but as long as you know who you are, and stick to that, you can get through this.