I want to make space for revolutions. I especially want to make space for those revolutions that happen within and the revolutions that challenge patriarchs by creating space for individuals to embrace their beautiful bodies and identities. Individuals along the LGBTQ spectrum are 33% more likely to experience mental health symptoms as opposed to their heteronormative and cisgendered counterparts. This statistic has remained constant for a few years now, only proving that linear care is obviously not as affirming as we’d like to think it is. Not living in your truth, not having your body respected, or being told your gender is “made up” doesn’t exactly come with a certificate and a bouquet of wild magnolias. It comes with us being dangerously challenged and told that our bodies aren’t ours. It comes with sorrow. It comes with rage. It comes with psychosis. It comes with institutionalizations. It comes with suicidality. Those are just a few that are, unfortunately, near and dear to me.
Part of my story involves getting bullied for being a tomboy, amongst other things, at a young age. Kids would say things such as “are you a boy or a girl” or call me Dennis. If I could go back and tell little Danée something, I’d tell them to continue to slay and serve up splendid levels of androgyny! I’d suggest to them to respond with a “Duh! That’s the point” and keep it pushing. But, there was no one to champion that identification and help prevent me from transmuting fear into years of detrimental rage, relinquishing my body to oppressive systems embracing cisnormativity. No one was there to let me know that I was real.
Only recently have I accepted the truth that gender existing on a binary is a scam. Man! Can I just say how VERY freeing that revelation is!? Exclusive femininity or masculinity isn’t my truth nor is it an accurate representation of my authentic self. And, THAT’S OK! This revelation came after I was fortunate enough to hold space with other trans and gender non-conforming folks, hearing their experiences and tactics and strategies for survival. Not surprisingly enough, 8 out of 10 of us in that group had a serious mental health disorder that we had been diagnosed with and were on medication for. While we shared experiences of our symptoms being severely exacerbated while being forced to be unauthentic, we also celebrated the success that happens when our authenticity abounds – degrees from Ivy League universities, acceptance into prestigious masters and doctoral programs, opportunities and funds to develop healing spaces, radical and effective organizing, etc. SHEER GREATNESS!
“They/Them” are my pronouns. Nope, I don’t exist on a binary. Saying that aloud makes me smile, and smiling has been proven to keep depression and anxiety at bay! Scientific research indicates emotions and expressions happen at the same precise moment and triggering one automatically activates the other. I am thrilled to say that on today, I am living authentically and in my truth! To the people that make that possible, thank you so very much… <3