Family In Mourning

Sometimes healing looks like mourning.

I can love you without accepting you.

My mother doesn’t blink as she says it; I stare back. These are words she believes. She trusts this is what God wants. Every thought and feeling whooshes from me before returning as the familiar slow-burn anger I always carry with me.

Her face is unreadable. Mine fights to match hers.

I need you to respect my name.

I need you to respect my pronouns.

I need you to respect who I am.

I want your support in my transition.

If you can’t accept me, you’ll lose me.

I need her to understand how much pain I am in, but I’m caged. I lash out. I hate her.

You’re the one who really mattered.

Accepting me is turning her back on God. Her tone flares fire then drops to ice again in heartbeats. How could I ask her to make that choice? I leave the table, and I leave her.

I’m selfish.

I’m making her choose between her child and her God, and she will always choose her God.

I need you to love me, not the idea of me.

Tears leak from my eyes while I repack my bag for the airport. My aunt wakes up to wish me safe travels. My mother acts like everything is okay. I resent her for it.

You lied. You told me you’d always love me. You can’t make love conditional now.

I cry in the airport over a soggy burrito that I want to purge with each bite. I hide behind blue lenses. The person in front of me does their best not to look at me as I sniffle.

I board my plane. I sit in the blue seat. I wish I was alone.

Sometimes healing looks like mourning.

Sometimes healing is mourning.

–Kain

Becoming Jaded With Pride

I attended Twin Cities Pride this past weekend. I could just be severely jaded, but I felt very conflicted feelings towards the event itself. Not every feeling was negative, but the negatives were very strong and I feel the need to air my thoughts.

I severely dislike how much corporations seem to have taken over the general feeling of Pride, and how capitalistic it all has become. I hate how my friends protested the police presence and were threatened with physical violence and public mockery at a movement that was started by queer and trans people of color inciting a riot. I felt severely uncomfortable seeing more cops this year than any other Pride I’ve attended, especially after hearing that they had shot yet another individual on Saturday night.

I feel uncomfortable that this has all just sort of become yet another state fair, but with more rainbows. I don’t like it when I feel like corporations – namely, ones that I don’t really see fighting for equality for their queer customers – are showing off to the queer community that they’ve been on the same level that Target has been. I hate feeling like my community is being pandered to by the city, when things are only sunshine and rainbows for the queer community in the month of June. I dislike seeing groups charging different prices for the same kitschy junk that you can find online for so much less than what you’d pay at Pride.

I felt sick seeing the Log Cabin Republicans at their tent, almost blissfully unaware of how angry and fearful people of color were passing by their tent. I felt uncomfortable seeing the FBI doing a bit of a job recruitment.

I didn’t like that there was little to no POC representation in the booths or in any of the Pride swag that people were selling. I felt erased because there didn’t seem to be any fellow Two Spirit individuals out there, besides a person I know to be very toxic.

And I feel helpless with all these seeming to be a cemented part of the Pride experience now.

Now, with all of this off of my chest, I do have some positives. I don’t want to just come off as an extreme pessimist.

I loved being surrounded by hundreds of fellow queer and trans individuals and being seen (for the most part) as who I am as an NB trans gal. I loved getting coded as female by numerous restaurants and even getting that nightmare known as glitter on my arms. I loved seeing old friends, old classmates, current and former University of Minnesota, Morris students in a place where they felt comfortable to be themselves. The animal rescue tents were amazing and made me, for a brief moment, reconsider being a cat person in favor of a velvet rabbit or a greyhound owner. I felt empowered by seeing the large counter protest against the whole “God will judge you” crowd that tried to form outside of Loring Park. I loved seeing people smile in these trying times. I felt happy that Target was only there to showcase fun things instead of trying to get people to buy their stuff. I felt great inspiring friends in wardrobe decisions. I felt absolutely giddy seeing a design that I gave to UMM’s LGBTQIA2S+ Programs Office two years ago being used and being so popular amongst the crowds.

I don’t really know how to end this little stream of thought, but I do know that the positives were worth going to the Twin Cities despite all the negatives I had. I might go back, but only for the opportunity to see friends in the region, and maybe do more gay karaoke at a bar.

Unlearning the Evangelical in Me

I am unlearning the evangelical in me.

I hate the evangelical church.

I need to say that.

I learned God could never love me or any other LGBTQIA2S+ person. Not as we are.

I learned that HIV/AIDS was God’s punishment for being gay.

I learned that Intersex people where proof of the Fall and the sinfulness of Man.

I learned that my sexual purity was the equivalent of a piece of duct tape. The more sex I had, the less important, less useful, less necessary was that duct tape, and in essence, me.

I learned that LGBTQIA2s+ folks would lead to the downfall of our nation.

I learned that as someone assigned female at birth, I was required to submit.

I learned that my voice did not matter.

I learned that being LGBTQIA2S+ meant I could never be close to God.

I learned that God could make me straight and cis if only I prayed hard enough. If it didn’t happen, I didn’t mean it.

I learned to hate myself, to repress myself, to wish I would die instead of being who I was.

I learned that people who say they’ll always love you only mean it if you’re cis and straight.

I learned to hate other LGBTQIA2S+ people.

I learned that people you never talk to will try to convert you when they see a chance to.

I learned that my faith only mattered if it looked like theirs.

I learned that Billy Graham is a bigger Jesus than Jesus.

I learned that middle aged men and women care a lot about who you have sex with and how you have it.

I learned that being open and loud about my identity would cost me relationships and community.

I learned that I chose to be LGBTQIA2S+ because God would never fuck up and make something like me.

I learned that who I’m attracted to is a bigger sin than murder.

I learned that I was predatory.

I learned that I was wrong.

I learned that I could never love or be loved.

I learned I could be gay as long as I hate myself and never love someone else.

I learned I could never be trans.

I learned that God was literal and God was a man.

I learned I didn’t agree with that.

I learned I was gay/trans because my mom brought sin into our home.

I learned that I’m the only one who gets to trash talk my mom. They learned that too.

I learned that acceptance and love aren’t the same thing because love is supposed to look a lot like hate.

I learned that the church should be a leader in denying human rights.

I learned that I shouldn’t have rights.

I learned that my relationships could never be real.

I learned I can only love one man in my entire life.

I learned I’m just lying to myself.

I learned leaving the church was the only way I’d find God.

I learned a God who loves LGBTQIA2S+ folks can’t be a real God. 

I learned I’d take that God over the evangelical God.

I’m unlearning the evangelical in me.

–Kain

A Label By Any Other Name

By my count, I’ve officially only been part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community for about 4 years. In that time, I’ve gone through label after label in an attempt to find words for who I am. I’ll admit that labels have always been present in my life, from my identity as an Oglala Lakota and Sicangu Lakota individual to the slightly more laid back label of “college graduate,” but my years in college helped cement a lot of my current labels. It took a solid time of reflection after graduation to finally cement who I wish to be and what labels come with that.

My main journey has been throughout my gender identity, which might fit the stereotypical trans woman narrative in some aspects. I started out my life with the label of “boy,” which I just always assumed was the right label for me because of the fact that I had always been known as that. I started to question that label in a subconscious manner when I had turned 13 or 14 and began to question whether or not I should have been a girl. However, I buried that in my mind until I reached college and started to talk things through with Kain. After some talking, I identified primarily as genderfluid for a couple of years, although I did lean further into the feminine aspects of the identity more often than not. It took my last year in college to come to the realization that I was more of a non-binary trans woman, which has been the label that has stuck internally.

The non-binary aspect mainly comes from the fact that after beginning HRT, I’ve been okay with my facial hair some of my body hair, as well as my deepish voice. I do still have struggles with trichotillomania when my facial hair gets too long where a beard would grow, but I’ve grown to appreciate my facial hair on occasion. I feel at peace with the aspects of my masculinity that I had always struggled with growing up.

As for my Two Spirit label, it’s mainly a way to reclaim my Indigenous identity. I had always struggled with the label that my tribe has had for people like myself: “winkte.” That word, meaning “to be like a woman,” was always used as a derogatory word for gay and feminine men. However, I don’t use the word as a label for myself, despite it technically being what my tribe uses. Two Spirit, to me, has a positive connotation mentally and hasn’t been used to degrade and humiliate people in my life. I may change my mind after more personal growth, but Two Spirit remains my label for my own reasons and as a way for more people to understand both my Indigenous and queer identities. In fact, I thank college for introducing me to the concept and label, because without it, I’d have forever had “winkte” as what I’d associate myself with.

If I were to revisit this topic at a later date, I’d want to focus primarily on my sexual identity. The main reason why I’m not choosing my sexual or romantic labels for this round mainly has to do with the fact that I’m still figuring things out. I also want to spend more time with a nuanced rant regarding the gatekeeping that I have experienced primarily with that aspect of my life. I’ve mainly been waiting for more ammunition for a post like this, and while there is some good ammo that I’ve gotten in the past couple of years, there’s still more to gather. So for lack of a better word, I will wait until I kinda get things together on my sexuality and then get gatekeeped out of either the L or the B of LGBTQIA2S+

– Evelyn

About Us

How Do You Identify?

Kain: I identify as a queer/bisexual/not straight, polyamorous, kinky, non-binary trans man. The words I use for my identity are really reflective of the fluid way that I approach my identity, and I know that my understanding of it may shift and change in the future. My sexuality and gender are just one big grey area a lot of the time. he/him and they/them pronouns. 

Evelyn: I identify primarily as a Two Spirit non-binary transfeminine individual. As for my sexuality, I’ve always kinda leaned closer to demisexual with biromantic tendencies. My pronouns are she/her/hers and they/them/theirs.

Why Did You Decide to Start This Blog?

Evelyn: My major deciding factor was that I wanted there to be another Indigenous voice in the queer community. Furthermore, I wanted to provide an example for people to see that financial upbringing and age isn’t a factor in not undergoing transition in any way, shape, or form. Granted, there are certainly people out there on Tumblr and the like who are much older than me (and in fact, one of them even inspired me to finally start my own transition), but I hope to provide another experience into the pool.

There is also the fact that I’ve wanted to be a little more of a vocal part of the queer community by speaking about my experiences in life and how things have changed as I’ve grown. That, and I also wanted to actually put my English degree into some form of use, and writing has always been my strong suit.

Kain: I wanted to start writing this blog with Evelyn because writing has always been an important medium for me, and recently, I’ve  been feeling the need to share my story in some kind of verbal format. Evelyn and I have been on a kind of joint gender journey since our sophomore year of college and she seemed like the right person to keep writing alongside.

Additionally, the narratives of other trans masc people really helped me figure out my identity as a non-binary trans man and I wanted to get my voice out there, because at the end of the day, I want to help people ground themselves in their identities. Maybe it’s the English major in me, but I believe that stories and words can make a difference in the world.

Why Is Talking About Your Identity Important to You?

Evelyn: For me, talking about my identity is important because people in my life have struggled with understanding my identity, or have chosen to erase aspects of my identity when talking about me. I figured that the best story is one that comes from the person themselves, and the best way for me to do that is to actually talk about my journey as things have gone and will be going in the future. I would like people to at least see (or read, in this case) my growth as a human being.

Kain: I talk about my identity. A lot. Being queer and trans is a very critical part of how I experience the world. However, education and connection are also really important to me and talking openly about my identity allows me to connect with other LGBTQIA2S+ folks. I also get to use my identity as an educational resource for folks who have questions about the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Is that exhausting? Sometimes, but I really value those educational conversations.