In the past weeks I’ve hard a hard time keeping myself upbeat. Small problems would down trodden me and I let others comments hurt me. The weight of my transition is heavy and the struggle for my correct pronouns continues. Suddenly I began losing the battles. I began letting people write my story, and waited for salvation in the few who got it right. I would cry on their shoulders about how hard it was to be me. I made myself a victim and failed to assert my identity. I became lost in a food fight of identities being thrown all over me by everyone and I retreated seeking help from those who knew me.
I hid from the food fight, and declared that I had a hard life and became the victim. I waited for help from others and cried to myself in the mean time. But this was only weighing down my days and increasing my suffering as I waited to be saved. I felt powerless, but was at the same time the most powerful. I knew I was the one who could change this but I couldn’t figure out how.
My transition was troubling me and weighed heavily on my shoulders. My Dad has disacknowledged the whole thing as me trying to find a purpose and meaning. And countless other people have a hard time fully acknowledging my identity. While I certainly don’t pass for a straight boy anymore few people identify me as a woman, if I’m lucky I get identified as a trans woman. And this struggle makes me question myself at times, I look around and wonder do I really want to do this?
And the answer is no, I don’t want to go through all of this, I just want to get there. The fight I fight goes on nearly ever waking hour. It’s an uphill battle and always will be. Many people never even think about their identity, I have to fight for mine. And I realize that I may always have to correct pronouns, there may be some douchebags who choose to refer to me as my birth sex despite appearing like a woman.
To some people I will never really be a woman, I will always have been a man and always be trans. I will slip between this binary like Brynn Tannhill talks about (starts around 14:00). She says, “How will I feel when I am told that I am not a real woman? … If I am not a real woman, then I’m certainly not a real woman. If I am neither than I am nothing, an it, a thing, a non-human.”
This fight for labels, for identities is tireless. I am fighting for my identity to be a women, I fight tirelessly to be called “she,” because as Brynn says, “I am real… and I am a woman, just one with a different history. Though I lived behind a mask, one fastened to me at birth.” But right now for me it is a tireless fight, I don’t look enough like a woman right now to pass by anyones standards. Then I look around at this food fight I’m in and realize everyone is throwing labels and identities on everyone else. No one is accepting of others unless they choose to. My identity is mine, and I won’t let others throw theirs on me, I am a woman, and I have always been.
Finally I feel empowered to own my own identity. To correct people who use the wrong pronouns. I don’t care why people are using the wrong pronouns I care that they do it. Why they are using the wrong pronouns is their problem, not mine. Maybe the slipped up, maybe they are an ass. But I’m going to correct it and move on with my life. I am going to see myself for who I am and stop caring what everyone else thinks.
I’m going to get up off my butt and go for things. I’m going to look back on my life and remember the meeting I had with President Spanier (President of Penn State University), the second person I hated. I hated him for disrespecting me so horribly. I’m going to remember how he tried yet again to talk over me, but I had done my research and I wasn’t about to be talked over. I didn’t let him spread his lies and I didn’t let him talk over me. I stood up to the President of my University. So I’m going to stand up to Joe Schmo who calls me a man.
I’m going to remember where I came from and I’m going to remember where I’m going. I’m not going to let people persuade me or push me, because I know who I am and I don’t need anyone to tell me that. I’m going to stay strong, because I am strong. I’m going to fight for what I deserve, because that’s what a student activist does, that’s what Yeti does! Why did I ever stop? because I didn’t feel like I was worth it, because I felt unsure and unconfident, because I was afraid to stand up for the most important thing in my world, me. To stand up for who I am.
I stood up for sweatshop workers across the world, I stood up to Presidents of universities and to CEOs of Brands. I stood up to my Professors, to my peers, to my parents and friends. I fought the good fight, but then I cut out early when I had to fight for myself. I’m going to remember the awesome person I was, that I am, and I’m going to keep moving forward. I’m not going to let others define me. I am Yeti, I am a woman, I am trans, I am a lesbian, and I have a ways to go but I’m not stopping anytime soon.
As the song Ambling Alp by Yeaysayer says, “Stick up for yourself son, nevermind what anyone else does”