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“Before any other type of identity, I identify with my race. I am Black first, then Non-Binary. But above all, I am human. I have received numerous spiteful and intrusive comments on how I choose to identify myself. Many have looked at me in disgust asking me why I ‘decided to become transgender’. Since when are transgender people disgusting? To me, they are so beautiful, and they are humans just like you are. I have even met people telling me I deserve to die, that my life is not worthy of existence. Others have told me that whatever problems and hard times I have had to deal with in my life were well deserved; as I am black and transgender, I brought it on myself.

My gender perspective is simple: I want anyone to be who they wish to be for themselves - be it feminine, masculine, or any gender identity they relate to. To me, a big part of this perspective has been to communicate that it’s okay to be feminine. Our associations with the word ‘feminine’ often consist of two ideas: someone who lacks power, or simply -  women. But women are goddamn powerful! I believe that feminine aspects should not be associated with someone’s gender identity, just as I don’t believe masculinity should either. I see masculinity more as behavior and culture that we have associated with men or young boys from the beginning of our time, as a social construction of gender roles. Boys and men learn “appropriate” gender roles according to the masculine expectations of their given community; they’re told what it really means to be a boy. In most circumstances, they are told that “boys don’t cry” or to “man up”. These colloquialisms are ways of relaying the message that as a member of a certain gender, there are expectations that must be fulfilled. Similar messages are also subjugated to women and young girls. But the reality is that these expectations are leading to violence, major depressive symptoms, and even suicide. 

I am still learning how to love myself. There is always room to grow and promote self-love. I’ve also been learning to accept the power I have by sharing my voice through social media, and it has been a beautiful thing for me; seeing how my voice can influence and guide others. Not long ago, I thought I didn’t have the right to be a role model as I’m still learning how to live myself. But sharing my journey alongside them is beautiful, and I have come to not only embrace it but now I’m embracing myself as well.”

- Pruwuit, USA

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