As Pride month wraps up, I am struck by the ever-present resilience my community has and, even more so, I am overwhelmed by our decision to choose joy in low moments. There is something powerful about surrounding yourself with people who can be their most authentic self, surrendering your fears and worries, and joining them.
While I’ve been out as Queer since I was fifteen, I came out as nonbinary almost two years ago. It was a situation in which I had known for my whole life that I wasn’t exactly how others saw me, but I didn’t have the language or opportunity to explore what I could be. In the two years since coming out again, much of my life has changed. I am able to see myself for who I am at my core and learn to love that person. I have discovered that, while my body is an important part of who I am, it does not define the most interesting parts of myself. Still, even amidst that joy and self-compassion, it has not been the smoothest transition. I am still misgendered nearly every day, even during Pride month. I am still seen as a woman by so many people in my life, though I try to avoid keeping track.
I remember how important “Born This Way” was to me as a teenager. I first discovered the song a year after I realized I was not the straight little girl everyone told me I was. Hearing the words “I’m beautiful in my way ‘cause G-d makes no mistakes,” I was moved to tears. There I was, sitting in my friend’s bedroom, crying because I had been told (for the first time ever) that I could be who I was and be loved.
As I continued to grow up and learn more about myself, though, the message of “Born This Way” started to lose its luster for me. Don’t get me wrong, being Queer is a true blessing, but that wasn’t the problem. I started to think that if I was born this way, born as I should be, that maybe there was something wrong with me. I hadn’t felt at home in my body since I was six years old and it was scary to think that my body wasn’t the problem, that I was.
I spent years working through this, trying to figure out who I was and how I truly felt. While I didn’t treat this anthem as law, it set such a strong foundation for the way I saw myself. What changed for me, though, was realizing that the song was not about being born perfect and then straying away from that perfection as we grow. “Born This Way” is about the commitment to learn from yourself, love yourself, and grow into yourself.
I’m just starting the process of getting top surgery, a procedure that will remove my breasts and give me a more androgynous, flat chest. It’s a terrifying process for many reasons, but I am choosing to be brave. I am choosing to love myself even when it scares me. I was born this way to become who and how I want to be. I was born this way to transform this way, and you are, too.
Ask yourself (and do it right now. There’s no time like the present!) who you want to be. Is it someone you dreamed of being years ago? Is it someone who loves people fiercely? What if it was someone who loved themself with all of the kindness and compassion they give to others? Obviously, becoming your truest self does not include medical procedures for everyone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all transform ourselves. I like to think of myself as a collection of my favorite parts of my favorite people, constantly transforming into the next evolution of myself (like a Pokemon). Who might I become next? Who might you become? I hope we grow into people that love themselves for who they are, who they have been, and who they will become.
To support Taylor in their transition, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-taylor-get-something-off-their-chest. To learn more about how to support Transgender youth, you can find information and resources at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/trevor-support-center/a-guide-to-being-an-ally-to-transgender-and-nonbinary-youth/“