Written October 2015
I was born an intersex person. I was declared female at birth. I am now 10 months, and 2 weeks into reclaiming my true gender male. Although I also identify as being a non-binary male. I started my transition to my true gender at forty-six years old. I remain with my dedicated husband of twenty-seven years. We are a family of five, and as a family, we participated in our first Pride Festival and Parade this year with our LGBTQIA friendly church. Prior to this day we realized that since I no longer appeared female that holding hands in public could now bring danger and judgement. Here, in this safe place, we could hold hands again, without fear. But it was not the same. This simple gesture of love, holding hands, was now a political statement, even in this safe place.
As we marched down the street, with our rainbow flags and banners, I noticed some in the crowd taking note of our holding hands. Two guys in love, and me a queer-looking man. This had never happened before, when we appeared heterosexual. To get attention for simply holding hands for the first time, amazing, and yet so very, very sad. But it was the PRIDE parade, so all was good.
So, if they were going to stare, into the air, we raised our clutched hands as a visible statement of our right to love each other. Together, embraced in public, we had been magically transformed into a social taboo. By appearing male it has changed how our love, of twenty-seven years, appears to this world. Our visible love for each other now made into a political statement.
On a day to day basis, when not in a safe place, this freedom to be carefree about something as simple as holding hands, has been taken away from us. For there is much risk to hold hands when one is an obvious sexual minority. We can be beaten, bullied, made fun of. We can be murdered even. Holding hands no longer becomes thoughtless or carefree.
In this TEDx, All the little Things Panti shares her experience of the little everyday things that can have a huge impact on the well-being of gay people. Like the act of simply holding hands in public. In the end, Panti says it best:
“I am forty-five years old and I am not asking anymore, I am just being. HUMAN BEING.”
2 thoughts on “Where is A Safe Place?”
This is a great length of blog post. It’s focused and clear and a single idea your readers can internalize and grapple with!
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Judi, thank you for being my mentor, and my friend. You are a very wise person. I am blessed to have you in my life.