Here are two pictures of me.
The first picture is from college (for some reason I dyed my hair a different color red than my natural color) and I think this picture was taken about 4 or 5 years ago.
The second picture is recent. In both pictures I am binding.
Take a look at my facial expressions in these pictures.
In the first image, I remember setting up a camera and trying to look tough and/or masculine. I wore the binder inside my house only and was too afraid to go outside wearing it, I was afraid to admit my gender identity to anyone, including myself. It was a hard time for gendery feels.
In the second picture, I am happy. I’m making pancakes for my partner, I am more comfortable in my own skin. I see ME here, not a scared younger person. I’ve created my own masculinity and I am becoming more open to my gender exploration.
I want to share this because I want all the scared kids to know that it’s okay to be you. Here are some words:
A) You are allowed to have the feelings you have. You are a human and this is allowed. Even though it is hard, try not to feel guilty or ashamed.
B) I acknowledge that it sometimes can be really tough. Gender is hard. I would tell my scared old self this. I would tell them that it is a rough path but coming out on the other side of this fear is the most beautiful thing.
C) You’re wonderful. Look at yourself this way. Try to see yourself as the super amazing person that you are. Be you honestly with those you feel safe with. Those people can be on the internet if it’s hard to find them off of the net at the moment. You are a beautiful human being.
I cannot say that I’m perfect, I cannot say that I am not still scared at times. What I can say is that I have learned how to become accepting of myself, I have learned that there are so many things to love about me, and yes, my gender.
Your gender identity is great. Your gender can be whatever it is (binary or not, male or female or both or neither, or anything else) and that is okay. People who say otherwise are full of bull and their opinion of you is not worth your or anyone else’s time.
YOU ARE AMAZING.