You have to. I went to Toronto and had my reality crack open. Just shift incomprehensibly. I’m a kaleidoscope, that shifts when I’m stable, but when I travel is when I really get to see myself in pieces. Completely new people, new places and energies, move around the puzzle pieces in my soul.The shine a different light into my self perception and I always end up relearning what it means to exist, newly, in spaces I (think) am familiar with.
Initially I came to TDot for Caribana, (if you don’t know what this is, look it up). I also came to do a bit of last minute turning up before I begin my semester. SN: I did spend a lot of time turning up, so the trip was a success! stayed with someone I befriended last time I visited last time I was in Toronto, Jah Grey, an amazing Toronto based queer artist whose fearless astounds me.
We spent my last night at his place talking in his kitchen, using candles as our source of light, with his cat running circles around us giving us a shadow show, and then disappearing, sometimes reappearing only to dash out again, much like our fears we were discussing. Disappearing & Reappearing. We spoke most about his upcoming exhibit; his first solo exhibit, which is nerve-racking in itself, in addition it to it being the first exhibit in which he referred to himself as queer in his artist writeup & the vulnerable nature of his photos. We talked about what it means to be an out queer person of color, the continuous coming out story, and what that means for us as artists. I talked about my apprehensions of being too transparent, too personal on this blog. He looked at me and simply said that means you have to. That means that you have to. You have to do the things that scare you the most. And I know that, and seeing someone who is living this truth so out loud, so succulently and beautifully, it cant’t be ignored.
So here goes, I spent a week with some of the most amazing people in Toronto, I’m sure. I was with uncommonly brave QPOC & trans people. I spent this time taking it all in, listening and just being present. I heard about the nearly complete severing of family ties after transitioning, the inability to dress how they feel most comfortable due to fear of being outed. I felt this in a special way, since fashion is my thing. I know the importance of feeling good in what one wears. I even saw someone give themselves a T shot for the first time. (The testosterone shot given to maintain the proper amount of hormones.) I saw their hands shaking, unable to steady themselves though they had done this procedure weekly for the past 3 years. This just reminded me of Jah’s words, you have to do what scares you most, and though sticking a needle into themselves is scary, they know what’s needed to reach their freedom. Not doing it, turning back on their immutable truth is more frightening.
I discovered another shade of myself in my ever evolving kaleidoscope. I found myself attracted to a transguy. As someone who has identified as queer since I was 17, I am used to being an anomaly. I live life as a Bad Black. However, this was new for me. I am comfortable with my attraction to women, it’s normal for me, but this was totally new experience. Uncharted territory, what does my attraction mean? How does this define me? I still don’t know. I am still unpacking this time in TO, but what I do know for sure is that I was encompassed in an incredible amount of love and support. This all reminded me much of my community in Atlanta, reminded me that I am fortunate to always have a support system that will honor me in whatever space I find myself in, now matter how unfamiliar they may be.
This what I was afraid to write. My “lesbianism,” (a term people usually apply to me though I don’t identify with this term) is generally acceptable. People are comfortable with that. But many people still don’t know what trans really means. And by my admission of being attracted to a transperson, I am opening myself to be casted away with them. I also struggle with what I want to reveal on here, how much of my personal details should be published ? I am not embarrassed or ashamed. After this week, it would be going against all I’ve experienced, against being a Bad Black. I am on this journey, around the world, around New York City & around myself.
Just waiting to see where this takes me.