Fighting Against Compulsory Heteronormativity
I’ve known for a long time that I was not straight. I feard other girls. I feared how much prettier they were than me. I feared how much I stared at them. I feared how flustered I would get talking to them. I hated them. I wanted to be them. I wanted to be their friend. All of these emotions confused me. And I knew I couldn’t have them. I grew up going to a conserative Lutheran grade school. I knew what they taught me the Bible said about homosexuality. That it was a terrible sin, almost implying it was an unforgivable one at that. So whenever that gay switch would go in my brain I would just turn it off (kind of like that song in the musical The Book of Mormon).
As I got older, I had mastered the art of suppressing my gay thoughts. Rationalizing it by saying, “you’re still attracted to boys so you can’t possibly be gay.” Explaining away the times my heart would skip a beat when a pretty girl talked to me, when my friends (who were girls) pretended we were dating or married, being uncomfortable with holding hands or hugging my friends who were girls for fear of them realizing I was gay. I couldn’t have them seeing me for who the indentity I was hiding from myself.
Sometimes I would bargain with myself. I would say, “I can’t act on these gay thoughts and purse a relationship with a girl but I can think gay thoughts. Then, it won’t be a sin.” But my Lutheran teachers’ voices would pop into my head: “sinning can be done in word, deed, and thought“. So after every gay thought, every gay inclincation, I would pray. Pray God would take away these gay thoughts. Praying for forgiveness. Pleading with him to still love me even though I had failed.
Now, I realize that I didn’t fail. I’m not sinning. God created me to live in my truth as a Black bisexual. To seek loving and intimate relationships with men, women, or any other gender identity. To show me that I don’t have to hide my sexuality because I am created in His own image (Gen 1:27). I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). And it is so freeing to learn that I can live in my truth.
Fighting Against the Gender Binary
When I was born, I was labeled a girl and given my birth name. It was a beautiful birth name filled with rich meaning and emotional context, but it wasn’t my name. I never resented being called [insert birth name here] nor did I despise she/her/hers pronouns. I was content with them.
Content with them because I didn’t know I had other options. I understood gender as binary, boy and girl. And I knew, and still know, that I am not a boy. So I figured I would have to settle for the girl label. That is until my best friend came out to me as non-binary. It took a lot of questions and patient explaining for me to understand how they identifed as non-binary. Once I slowly understood their relationship with gender, I began to question my own relationship to gender.
I reflected on how I always hated feminine gender stereotypes. When I was in middle school, I was very much a “tomboy”, playing football, getting dirty, hating dresses and skirts. I even shopped in the boys’ section with my dad many times. I reflected on how I used to dress in high school and college. Putting on dresses and makeup because society dictated that girls must do that. I forced myself to get used to the uncomfortable.
Because I knew that I didn’t feel like a boy I figured that I had to still feel like a girl in some capacity. So I went by Elle (a girlier nickname based off of my birth middle name) and said my pronouns were she/they. And that felt fine. Until I told my brother and he still used she for me and it bothered me a lot. And I wrestled with the idea that if I indentified as not a boy that I still had to hold onto girl somehow. But I know better now. I know that I can be Drew, a name for me that feels like the happy medium of “not boy” and “sort of girl” (and a name I half-jokingly say I chose because of my love for Drew Barrymore), and that I can simply use the they/them/theirs pronouns.
I like who I am becoming. I like who I am, Drew a bisexual non-binary Black person. And I’m excited for you to continue to meet them.
[…] my faith. Now, it’s time to tackle a more recent discovery: my being non-binary. As I said in my…
I love this so much. Showing this honest vulnerability about emotions is really comforting as a reader, and how you…
thank you matt!!!!
this. is. amazing! it’s just so well-written and the way you inserted spirituality into it with the verses is amazing…
thank you so much for taking the time to read this. it means the world to me ❤