My first kiss was with my next-door neighbor—a young boy in my class. It was back when I didn’t know what it meant to be queer, what it meant to be bisexual, what it meant to be trans. We were together under a flagpole at recess, he told me that the previous night was “Hershey’s Kiss” night at his church.
Shortly after coming out to my church, I began to notice just how many LGBTQ people our congregation had. While my time prior to deciding to come out had been full of nerves and worry, my time after was filled with new friends and role models.
I started working at Believe Out Loud almost five years ago. Before that time, I had no idea that there were places to turn to talk about the intersection of being LGBTQ and Christian, other than to talk about it from the harmful narrative that had been forced upon most of us for far too long.
As a Black transman, I get a lot of messages about who I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to look like and what my life should manifest as.
The back-to-school season can bring a mixture of emotions for parents and kids alike. For some it’s all excitement. For others, it’s nervousness and trepidation. For transgender children and their parents, it can be a time of sheer terror. While some schools (and the communities they are in) are great, others are so anti-trans that it feels like we are sending our kids into a war zone.
Who am I?
I know the answer that is normally given would be; name, age, hometown, college, work, children, pets. Those answers are available, but before I list the things you can find out with a quick search I will define myself.
I realized how much I hated myself the day I admitted to myself that I’m trans. I’d never noticed before then the nauseated feeling in my stomach each time I looked in a mirror, or how I never could take compliment without some type of rebuttal, or how much I clamored for attention while looking for the exit at the same time.
“Well—a lot of them would have been safe if they weren’t out all night sinnin’.”
“We’re worried that our children’s program won’t grow. Parents won’t bring their child to a church with lesbian pastors and so many gay people,” a deacon stated woefully.
“Isn’t she pretty?” he said as he pinched my cheeks and introduced me to a prestigious male academic, “you’d never know she’s smart.”