Breaking the Binary With Addison Rose Vincent
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 2 years ago

Breaking the Binary With Addison Rose Vincent

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Addison Rose Vincent is breaking the binary. Identifying as transfeminine non-binary, Addison has been living in LA and working as an advocate for the genderqueer community since their time at Chapman University. Defying binary categorization, even in a liberal city like Los Angeles, isn’t easy. But Addison’s views on education, strength and above all, compassion are inspiring. Be sure to follow Addison on IG! Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Sebastian Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media. The rainbow flag has been a symbol of pride since they flew the original flag at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade Celebration on June twenty five, one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight. A rainbow is a spectrum of light. But when you think about a rainbow, do you think of a continuum or do you think of a series of individual colors? Even though we know that a rainbow is a range of light frequencies that blend smoothly into each other, we perceive bands of color, we perceive categories. As humans, we put labels on everything we see. It helps us make sense of the world around us, and over the years, researchers have found that when we struggle to put something into a category, we like it less. A few years ago, the Journal P os one publish the findings of a study in which the subjects were shown a variety of images of men and women that had been edited to make them appear gender ambiguous. One group was asked to first identify the people in the photos by gender and then rate them on attractiveness. The second group was asked to simply evaluate the attractiveness without categorizing them into genders. The study found that the first group, the ones who had to first assign a gender, found all the faces relatively unattractive, while the other group had preferred certain faces. The researchers found that the difficulty of the mental work of classifying something hard to classify produced a negative effect that transferred to the face itself. The limitations of black and white views of gender and sexuality are what caused that discomfort, and that means the first step towards making the experiences of gender nonconforming people better is to break the binary. My guest today, Addison Rose Vincent, identifies as Trans Feminine Non Binary, and they started a consulting firm called just that break the binary. At twenty seven years old, Addison has been living in La and working as an advocate for the gender queer community since their time at Chapman University. Defining binary categorization, even in a progressive city like Los Angeles, isn't easy, but Addison's views on education, strength and, above all, compassion are inspiring. I'M LEA by Chambers, and this is pride. My name is Addison Rose Vincent and I stay them pronounced. Born in Canada, and raised in Michigan, Addison made their way into activism and community organizing while attending Chapman University. Over the years they've taken on a lot of leadership roles work for groups that protect and uplift lgbtq plus people. Now they're the executive director of the intersects and Gender Queer Recognition Project, the first and leading organization in the US to address the right to identify as non binary on government issued documents. We go state by state and we push for legislation that allows for a third gender option on state IDs. So in California we have x in addition to male and female. They founded break the Binary LLC. We provide monthly social events and life skill opportunities for nonbinary, intersects, Gender Queer Journal conforming people in Los Angeles. Addison is also the founder of NBULA, which stands for the Nonbinary Union of Los Angeles, with focus on providing LGBTQ Consulting, education, training strategic planning for businesses and organizations. And lastly, Addison is the founder of history reimagined, which is a new concept that works to prevent and break cycles of domestic violence and the school to prison pipeline that's through Blue Shie of California. Needless to say, they stay very busy. When Addison and I sat down together, we spent a long time talking about pronouns, gender fluidity and a lot more. So let's start with the basics. Pronouns. Pronouns are the words or terms that we use instead of a person's name. So for one person, maybe let's say their name is Joe. Maybe Joe goes by he, him pronouns. So we would say I know Joe, he is a student, I know him, his favorite color is green. Right. For maybe someone named Sally, maybe Sally uses she her pronouns, and maybe we would refer to her. As you know, I know Sally, she is a student, I know her. Her favorite color is green. For me, I'm someone that uses pronouns that are they, them, their gender neutral. There's something that I identify with and that make me feel affirmed and seen. So when you talk about me, me would say I know Addison, I know them,...

...they are a student and their favorite color is green. Right. So those are ways that you would use my pronouns as well. Now there's more than just he, she and they pronouns. There might be Zen sor. There's some people that use no pronouns at all. But pronouns ultimately are up to that person. SITICIDE, Zee and Zer are actually German gender neutral pronouns. The most common gender neutral pronouns in the US are they and them. They, them. I think people have some trouble understanding how to use it in a singular context. So I tell them a few things. One is that they in them has been used in a singular context to refer to one person for more than, I think, four or five centuries. If you look back at Shakespearean plays, you can see that they in them is used as a singular pronoun for a person. Is Actually, I think, used in literature and documentation longer as a singular pronoun than the singular you, which is interesting as well. So there's a lot of history of using they them as a singular Pronoun and ultimately to I know that the mirroring Webster Dictionary and the APA style formatting for citations has now said that they and them should be used and can be used in a singular context to. So sometimes people get confused with the terms sex and gender. Sex usually refers to one's physical biological makeup. Like their chromosomes, their hormones, for their Gendertalia, and oftentimes we think about sex in male or female forms. Male meaning that you have to have xx chromosomes, right, x, X Y chromosome. X Y chromosomes, right. I was get confused about which one is which. Will Google it. So anyway, have to have, you know, certain type of chromosomes. You have to have testosterone penis tests. There's a certain type of checklist or male and the same thing goes for females. Well, to write, having a vagina, having ovaries, having high levels of estrogen, etc. Etc. But not everyone is going to fall into those two categories. Right now, when it comes to gender, gender refers to that social construct. It's refers to the roles that we might adopt to based on our sex. It refers to a lot of different characteristics, social characteristics that one person has, and we know terms like man and woman as general or terms as well. When the baby is born, we don't usually announce them by their sex term of male or female. We usually assign a gender to that baby based on their genitalia, of it's a boy or it's a girl. So, depending on your culture, that could also be the gender itself could be very different in the US than it is somewhere else. Right. Yeah, culture absolutely does shape gender as well. What is defined as a man or woman here might be different in another, you know, part of the world or another another country too. I also think too, about how in many other cultures around the world, including here and indigenous America before colonization, that third genders and fourth genders were not only recognized but celebrated and revered. I think about in indigenous America there are two spirit people in Hawaii, there's Mahoo folks in Saman Islands, there's the FA fafine. In India there's Hesra folks, and these are all people that were seen as spiritual leaders, community healers, people that were worthy of celebration and respect and after colonization to are now kind of deemed as lesser than as people who are worthy of being stripped of their rights, being stripped of housing or employment opportunities and so on and so forth. So it's interesting how, over time, gender has changed and how our culture, or you know European cultures, have imposed binary on other cultures around the world. There are actually many, many cultures all over the world that recognize third and fourth genders. There are the Webatho Cha and the Dominican Republic, the FEMINI yellow in Italy, the Bernesia and Albania, the Zanith and Oman and they are called in mean Mar, just to name a few. So you know those third genders. They can refer to, possibly intersects, folks, people who are on the intersect spectrum, but maybe even people who have a binary sex but in terms of their own gender identity, they transcended whatever they were assigned at birth to that third gender, fourth gender, whatever it be. And when it comes to intersects, to also just defind that we talked about sex earlier as being that biological makeup and intersects refers to anyone who's biological makeup just doesn't match that full checklist of male or female. oftentimes we think of intersects, we think about the term Hermaphrodite, which is outdated and we no longer use that term. Instead we use intersects and it...

...can refer to people with maybe a mixture of Genitalia, maybe it's a maybe it's varying hormone levels or chromosomes. Oftentimes people may have like xx x chromosomes, or x x. Why? Those are common instances of intersect traits. When it comes to having a penis and vagina at the same time. That's a pretty uncommon thing to happen for intersex folks, but it does happen. It's really small, small percentage within the intersect community, which is also a very small percentage in itself. Research into intersect statistics is complicated because there are so many different ways to be intersects. A common number given by people in the medical community is one in two thousand, or zero five percent of the population, but that number only refers to ambiguous genitalia at birth, and a more recent study done in Istanbul found a rate of one point three percent for that same measurement. Still, these studies rely exclusively on visual representation at birth. Other more thorough research suggests that intersects people make up about one point seven percent of the world population. It's just as common as being redheaded, which is interesting to think about that. If you know someone in your life that's that has red hair, that you may know someone that's also intersects, or you yourself may be intersects, but maybe that was something that you were told to be ashamed of. Or to not talk about or was a race from you. Oftentimes, intersect people don't know that their intersects for a long time. I met this one fifty year old intersects woman when I was doing advocacy two years ago when we were doing legislation here in California, and she didn't know that she was intersects until a couple of years earlier when her husband asked her about her body and she learned then, through talking to her family and talking to doctors, that when she was a child she had had various forms of surgeries and procedures done on her as a child that she didn't understand. And that's something that's common in the US right and around the world. So you could be born intersects and your parents are a doctor is going to decide what they think you should look like. Is that like that? That's what happens. So then that person could be more feminine and because of a doctor they're decided nope, you are going to be male, because I say so. You got it. I think that we live in a culture where when a person is born with a body that doesn't quite fit into the standard, that doesn't quite fit into what we understand. We immediately see it as wrong. We immediately sign it as something that's bad. We can't compute it as being this or that, right or wrong, right. It doesn't make sense to us. So we automatically try to fix it. And the truth is that a lot of intersects people don't need to be fixed. A lot of these kids shouldn't be fixed and ultimately, if they do want to be fixed or do want to be corrected on, or whatever that be, that should be their choice. It shouldn't be up to the parents or up to the surgeons to operate on them or change their bodies or assign them anything. When they're firstborn or as children, they should be able to have the autonomy to decide what to do with their own bodies. And so those those what we're speaking kind of broadly. But those kids, they're if these are not like life threatening conditions where it had it's all based on esthetic, esthetic and misconception to around what it means to be intersects and, of course, going back to this stigma of being outside the binary, not conforming to male or female, man or woman. It's something that everyone's trying to change and correct and fix and again like I said, it's not necessarily needing of to being fixed. It's perfectly healthy and natural and more common than we know. When we come back how Addison broke the binary, plus on learning Transphobia, encountering transphobia and healing. nonbinary refers to people who just don't identify in the traditional binary of man or woman. So this refers to gender. But sometimes people also like to extend the not the nonbinary umbrella to include sex as well. So some intersects people will identify as nonbinary because their intersects, and sometimes not. I am someone who's nonbinary. I identify as nonbinary because I just don't feel like a man or woman. I just don't identify as either. I've never felt that the binary has suited me and I've felt just so much more than that. Too many nonbinary people come in different forms. We all look different and we might use different pronouns to not every nonbinary person's going to use a...

...gender neutral pronoun or just use one Pronoun. I know many nonbinary people who go by she or go by he or mix it up and use maybe all different types of pronouns too, like I know a lot of people who use I want to say it's he them, like that that they like like she them, he them, but as like an incorporation of both. But they then pronouns and then the gendered pronouns. You got it. Yeah, so it's really about preference. It's really up to preference to when it comes to pronouns, because pronouns are just like your name. You know, your name isn't always completely define you either too. It's just a nice little characteristic of who you are, or Nice title to the book that you are right, but doesn't completely define who you are. Pronouns are kind of the same way too. It's really important to use pronouns because, just like someone's name, you should use their correct name and you should use their correct pronouns, however they decide that you want them to use. And then when people don't, that's when we start getting into like misgendering. Yeah, so misgendering is when we refer to a person with the wrong gender identity or the wrong pronoun and so, for me, I'm someone who is male signed up birth, but I don't identify as a man, I don't identify as a boy, I don't identify as masculine, and so when I'm walking down the street or I see even a friendly face or a stranger and they call me he and him or call me referred to me as a boy or a man and stuff. That is this misgendering, because you're not seeing me for who I am, and that's what it comes down to, is it's about seeing a person, understanding that how we see a person visually in front of us and that that ability to look at a person doesn't mean that you're really seeing us and understanding us and supporting us too. So that's why it's so important to never assume anyone's gender, never assume someone's pronouns, and never assume someone's journey either too. That's why it's really important for us as people, as allies, as community members, to sit down and get to know each other's stories, to learn more about how we can be there for each other, but how to really see them too. When you're consulting, how do you teach people to because I would say it's probably not as common when you meet someone. Maybe it's not that it's not common, but you're not taught, let's say that in school, you don't learn like when you walk up to whoever this person is a kid, you don't say, Oh, what is your p that's not the first thing you say. Right, is like what's your Pronoun and sometimes, like you said, someone may be Sally, but then their pronouns are they them? Yep, right. So how do you teat? How do you help people understand? How do you teach them how to do that without, you know, feeling awkward or whatever? Yeah, I think that, first of all, it's just letting folks know that we're all on this journey together. Whether you are SIS gender, and SISGENDER refers to people whose gender identity that they were assigned at birth, that these still identify if I with it, and that's something that most people identify as, which is totally fine. So it whether your SIS gender or transgender or non binary or whatever that be, we are all conditioned to Transphobia, we are all conditioned to homophobia and Queer Phobia and as all on us as individuals to unlearn that and unpack that too. So I try to creep spaces where people don't feel shame around addressing their own is M's. They don't feel shame around addressing their own shame as well, and they know that it's okay to unpack that, to learn that and to unlearn a lot of it too, when it comes to, you know, getting people to really think too about how to relearn how to use pronouns to I just think about, you know, times when there have been celebrities or friends who have changed their names or change the last names even to when they get married, or they have a new nickname right, and these are all things that we like to adjust to and we're okay with right, because we want to be affirming and sensitive. So we need to really extend that same idea and that same mentality to Trans People, nonbinary people, to about saying, okay, if you use a different name or different pronoun than I thought you did, okay, it should be an easy switch for me. All work on that and I'll know to use that one for you, right. And it's really about being affirming to the individual rather than assuming based on how they look and how we interpret it to that's how can I break it down for people? Did you do you feel like you had to unlearn all those things? Absolutely and didn't take you time. Was it quick for you? Is it? I have been out as non binary for wow, it's been since two thousand and thirteen. So it's a been about six years, almo over six years, and I myself have still been on a journey of unlearning and unpacking my own transphobia and my own shame. And...

...when I look in the mirror as a general conforming person, there are days when I go wow, I look amazing, I'm so happy with how I look, I feel gender euphoric, I feel so aligned with who I am, and then there's some days where that transphobia kind of creeps up still and I look at myself when I go, what the hell are you doing? Shouldn't you look like a man or woman? Shouldn't you conform to the binary? So I know that on learning my own transphobia, on learning my own queer phobia, is it going to be a lifelong process. When I walk out into public spaces with my partner, who's a trench gender man and we are together too, I still am sometimes hesitant about holding hands in public or having any other form of public you know, PDA, and so it's something that I'm constantly on learning and getting more comfortable with with myself, and that also translates was how with how I see my own community. Sometimes too. So it's a journey. It's a journey for me, it's a journey for our community and it's a journey for everyone to unpack and and learned that I feel that it is a balance and it's a dance sometimes too. I feel that, you know, we are fortunate to live in a really progressive area. I want to say, and I say that hesitantly, because I feel that, you know, there are many places throughout the US that are deemed as not progressive or unsafe, and sometimes that's the places where there's the most radical activism happening and the communities is strongest. I think about the south, I think about, you know, Texas, I think about Atlanta, I think about Georgia, I think about so many different cities and states to throughout the south that might be seen as unsafe, but they truly are. But for me, I think walking out in Los Angeles to I think there is a as level of privilege and a level of luxury that we have to with knowing that there are a lot of out and open lgbtq people nearby and around and that we have a little bit more freedom here to to be open about who we are and to hold hands and at the same time I still get harassed, I still get treated sometimes really horribly walking down the street too, and I have to learn how to reframe that violence as not being about me, but it's about that person being hurt. It's about that person projecting their own pain. Sometimes I think, too, that the people who are trying to hurt us the most are the people who may be in the community themselves, but have so much shame and so much trauma and so much pain that they just take it out on us. You just have to be strong enough to know that and realize that that it's not about you at all, mm because you don't really affect their life at all when you walk by. I gotta the other day I was walking down the street with my dog, Stevie, and I take him out for walks every morning and typically he has certain spots where you likes to pee and, you know, to his thing and in the morning. This was a few weeks ago. I was walking out and by this bus stop, this guy was sitting there and as I was walking next to him, he started yelling at me and harassing me about my pants in particular. I was wearing these girls sweat pants he was saying. He was saying that I can't be wearing them, that I look like a fagot and all these different things. And in that very moment, stevie decided that he needed to pee. Now, typically, as someone who has been harassed on the street, I try to keep walking, I try to keep my head down, I try it to escalate the situation because of that fear of what could happen, fear of what has happened to over twenty trench gender women of Color in this country right as just this year, just this year, a well over three hundred around the world too, in the past year. I think about so many other queer and Trans people who have been attacked and killed just for being who they are and being unapologetic. Right. So typically keep my head down and it is try not to say anything or do anything, just get out of the situation. But, like I said, my dog in that moment decided that he needed to pee right then and right there. So I stopped and the guy still yelling at me and I did something that I've never done before and I looked him in the eyes and he stopped yelling at me and we just made eye contact for about five seconds and in that five seconds I looked deep into his eyes and I realized that this was a person who was in deep pain, this was a person who felt powerless and he was trying to get his power away from me. This was...

...someone who needed help. And at at five seconds he broke eye contact. He looked at the ground and all I asked him was are you okay, and immediately he said I'm sorry. And for me it completely shifted how I saw him, a completely shifted the interaction and I no longer felt powerless, as I often do when I'm harassed down the street. Instead, I felt powerful, and so I told him that I wish him a good day and I kept walking. It makes me very sad that you did. You have to endure that. That's really hard and it takes a lot of strength. But what you said when he averted his eye contact from you, it be. It means that he realized you knew his truth, that he was upset about something else. Wasn't you, but he had to take it out on you. So it does. It takes a lot that you endure that just to walk the dog. When I walk down the street to it's I'm constantly hyper vigilant about interactions like that and I know that I have the power to act in a way that is proactive, that is beneficial, that won't create or continue any more cycles of trauma or shame or pain. But it's a lot to carry, and it's a lot for I mean, I'm someone who's a white, non binary person. You have to think about all the Trans and nonbinary people of Color who are navigating so many more obstacles and so many more systems than me too, who go through many more times that type of violence than I do as well. Right, but it's already hard enough just being me walking down the street, trying to get services, getting looks, getting stairs and me constantly worried about, okay, what's going to happen next? What are that was that person going to say? Is that person going to deny me a service or treat me a certain way or call me something? And what am I going to do in that moment too? It's tough to always think about and to be constantly on guard about, and that's why I understand to that within our own trans and on binary communities that because of all that trauma, because of all of that hyper vigilance. It's sometimes really hard for us to trust ourselves and to trust each other, and so we see a lot of internal conflicts sometimes, and sometimes I even hear people outside the community talk about us as being manipulative or lazy or attention seeking or all these things. But those are all just signs of needing connection, being overwhelmed, being tired of all the shit that we go through and that we need help. Right, you have a tissue back there. Do I tell me a little bit about what's coming up for you as well? I would, I would, I would love to hear about what's what else is coming up for you. You are like looking into my soul, which so when you said that, I'm like you really, I'm sure that man felt very I honestly, I'm sure he was so taken aback that he was just like, Oh, fuck, I don't know what I did. I did something and this person can see inside me. Yeah, sorry, yeah, that never happens. It's okay now, you're good. I don't know why. It was just a very powerful story. Thank you. You know, it's one thing to go to a business and teach them how to how to teach their employees how to treat people correctly that are different right. How did you do it with your own family? MMM, I'm very fortunate to have a family that is not only tolerating but accepting and empowering, and they celebrate me like there's no tomorrow. I was born in Canada and raised in Michigan and I actually moved out to California when I was seventeen because I was so scared of what my parents would say when I did come out as gay back in this is two thousand and ten. And when I did move out here and I started school and I created my whole safety network of friends just in case something bad word to happen if I came out to them. What? Once they came out to them, they were super supportive and then, in fact, they said like they're like Addison, we knew. I was like, damn it. But since, you know, coming out as gay and then Queer and then transcend on binary and then so many more things, they've still continued to love me and support me and everything too. But you know, it's still a journey with them to trying to get them to understand new terms and...

...how identify and why identify the way that I do. So when it comes to working with my family, it's been all about patients, knowing that people who are, you know, typically older have therefore been conditioned to and have been around using pronouns and using terms and understanding ways of living a certain way for a longer time. So when I introduce, you know, my they then pronouns. To someone maybe of my age, they might be able to get it a little bit faster than maybe my parents. My parents. I have been out to them as a nonbinary using they then pronouns for, like I said, six and a half, almost seven years, and they still struggle with my they them pronouns, and is all that. Patients with me too, I know that they love me, I know that they they see me and that they're still on learning and working through their own understandings of gender, their own transphobia, their own ways of the world. So it's always a journey with them too. But I know that their intentions are good, and that's what I always remind people no matter where I go, is that intentions are the most important aspect to any type of allyship and any type of work. So if you go in with good intentions that you want to support, you want to help. I know that you're doing good work now. I know that also to your carrying your own is MS, carrying that history, carrying those things, and that's a journey in itself to unlearned. Like I said earlier, to I'm constantly on learning my own transphobia. I'm still trying to understand how to see people, as you know, just to see people, not just to assume who they are. So even if I'm still on learning that and I'm still working through that at the age of twenty seven, then I know that maybe folks that are my parents age or older might need a little bit more patients to and, like you mentioned, you know, in Los Angeles we are exposed to a lot more diversity than maybe in Michigan. Culture is constantly conditioning you to like male, female, he her. That's it, you know. So I think that that's part of it. is like you're on learning it while also being taught it at the same time through repetition. Essentially. I think that from culture I'm just in a place where I know that I may never get like the the you know, people my family or some as my friends, even to to get the day then pronouns correct every single time. I've had a let go of that because I think that it was frustrating me for too long to expect them to just get it every single time, and I wish that that could be the world that we live in, where people just automatically understand pronouns and that's what the world that's the type of world that I think I'm working towards. But in the meantime I just have to learn to let some Sam some of those expectations go, unfortunately, and just know that the person's coming to me with a good heart and with good intentions. So maybe in lowering my standards a little bit too much, but I feel like I just that have been disappointed every time if I don't hold that patient. Sometimes it's tough. Like again, it's a doubt as a dance, it's balance and every person's going to react differently and choose how to identify differently, and that's all. It's all valid, it's all correct. Addison has been out as non binary for about six years. When we come back we'll talk about growing up in Michigan and coming out in California, plus the importance of intersectionality in Gender Queer advocacy and what happens when Your Role Model de Transitions? Because of growing mainstream representation, words like Trans and transgender are much more widely recognized than other gender nonconforming terms. Addison self identifies as Trans Feminine, Non Binary. Well, first of all, trans and transgender. This refers to, you know, a person who is does not identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth. So there are transgender women who may have been assigned let's say, boy or male at birth and they came out as girls and women at some point. There are maybe trans men who are, we first assigned, you know, female or girl at birth and came out as Boyson, men, right, and that journey will look different for every single transperson to and you know, there's also people beyond the binary who are non binary, who were assigned male at birth or female birth or whatever, right, and came out at some point as nonbinary. Trans Feminine in particular, this refers to again, use net trans. So not identifying with gender you assigned up birth. But Trans Feminine for me encapsulates that I feel feminine at my core. I don't feel like a woman, I don't feel like a trans woman, but I do feel...

...this femininity at my core and because I wasn't when I was assigned at birth, you know, as a male and boy, because I was also assigned to be masculine growing up, because that's what boys and males are expected to be. Because I don't identify as masculine either. I identify as feminine. I have adopted that term of Trans Feminine because that's something that wasn't what was assigned to me, but something that I claim now. So I feel feminine my core. I also feel nonbinary because I just don't feel like a man or woman. So I've embraced both Trans Feminine and Non Binary. Did you have growing up? Did you have the freedom to be gender nonconforming, or do you feel like you did? You, you know, had to conform? Yeah, absolutely. Well, yes, I felt that I had to conform and I felt that it wasn't really necessarily because of my parents, and it wasn't necessarily because of the adults around me either too. It was actually because of the kids on the playground and my peers, and it all really started, I want to say, when I was maybe like five or six. That's when it goes back to the bullying, the bullying on the playground and calling me names and shaming me for being feminine, shaming me for having, quote unquote, like Queer homosexual traits, right for acting like a girl. Those are all things that I was shamed for for a long time, and so I felt that I couldn't express myself in a way that was fully feminine or General Conforming. I found ways to still be able to express myself. I danced a lot, into a lot of art, but even then I didn't feel free and I feel like myself. I often looked at the girls that I danced with and I wish that I was them. You know, I do remember back and call and a college in high school. This is back in Michigan. There was in openly gender fluid person that which my school and they were two years earlier or two years older than me and going to homecoming, going to prom. They wore these beautiful oak tour like outfits and were unapologetic about being general conforming and gender fluid, and I saw all of the pain that they went through. I saw all of the bullying that they faced. Two I saw I saw all of it and because I saw that, it registered with me that that was something that I shouldn't do that. I wasn't ready to do that. I was I felt that if I did express at that time and face all of that, that I may not make it out alive, you know. So I hid in my shame, I hid under the Queer Phobian Transphobia to protect myself right from myself and from others. And even though, you know, they went on and had a happy life and they could have been a symbol of resilience for me and a symbol of confidence or giving me that that strength to be able to come out at that time, it just wasn't the same for me, which is why I tell people to that folks who are so out and open and that representation that we need isn't going to automatically register for someone as being okay, now I can come out. Sometimes it's that okay, you're doing that and I'm going to see how that works for you and if it works for you and you get celebrated or rejected or shamed or whatever that be, that's going to determine whether or not I'm ready to come out or not to you know, everyone's coming out. Turnings going to be different that person. Eventually, you know, served as my role model. Eventually, when I did come out, though, and even though I wasn't ready the time to come out later in life in college, when I did come out as nonbineering trans, I felt that I could reflect back on that person and go, okay, they did it and now I can do it now, now that I'm ready, now that I'm stronger, now that I have a better community around me. And unfortunately, a few years ago that person actually detransitioned and now runs a right wing video blog on Youtube, and it hurt to learn about that. It hurt to see someone who was my inspiration, my role model in a way, to to now be posting videos that are vehemently against Trans people and against the community. And it again goes back to me about shame and it goes back to pain and trauma and I think about all the things that they...

...went through when I was there with them in high school. I think about whether their family was accepting or not. I think about whether, being back in Michigan, what type of community that they had, and thinking to again, like I said earlier, that our own community can sometimes not be able to trust each other or sometimes take out our anger and trauma on each other. Right. I think about all those possibilities for this person and what could have driven them to the point that they needed to de Transition, they needed to now post these horrible, violent videos even and I just feel sad. I feel sad for that person. I feel sad for so many other trans people who still can't come out or feel that they need to go back to the closet because of fear, because of pain, because of trauma. Did you have a low point that you got to before you came out, because it had to have been really hard knowing, like even seeing that person living the truth you wanted to be able to live. was there a moment that you remember where you were like, I don't know, you look in the mirror and you're like this is not it, this is not the person, this is not the life, this isn't what's supposed to be happening. You know, I think that it's it would. For me it was less of a moment of you know, I can't do this anymore and it was more of a moment. There was a moment for me when I went Aha and it clicked, and that was specifically for me. I will always remember this. It was two thousand and ten. I was a freshman in college and it was Halloween and that Halloween I was like, you know what, I'm going to dress up as a sexy which because I had just come out as gay and I was like I can do a little drag now, you know, I'm out as day, I can do this whatever. So I had all these girlfriends and they were you know, we were in my dorm room and we were getting dressed and I put on the WIG and I put on the stockings and this stress and the little Foa or a feather boa whatever it is, and I looked at myself in the mirror and I saw myself in this hyper feminine expression. It just clicked for me and I was like this feels right, and I couldn't explain it and I didn't have the words for it, but all that came to mind was the laughter from behind me, as my girlfriends were laughing about it and they all thought it was this big joke because, going in with it too, it kind of was supposed to be this joke, supposed to be this fun Halloween drag kind of outfit. was supposed to be serious, but it felt serious in that moment and hearing their laughter, it made me feel like this was supposed to be a joke, this isn't supposed to feel like this, and so I buried that feeling and a year later I was studying abroad. So I was no longer around those girl friends, I was no longer around my Chapman University community, I was around a whole new group of people on semester at sea, and that's a program that we're on a cruise ship for a whole semester and we go sit, you know, two different countries and we explore and learn more and engage with the community. It's a beautiful experience and because I felt like I had a whole new community around me, I tried it again for Halloween. I was like, let's let's do this again, and this time I dressed up as Ursula, from a little mermaid, but when she transforms to like the beautiful, you know, so eductress or whatever, right, and we are in Vietnam at the time and I had a custom ad dressed done for me. I got a wig, I got some shoes and when I dress up again, I had that same feeling again, but this time I had a different community around me. And the community this time was like, you look so beautiful, you look amazing, and they celebrated me instead of laughing. And from that moment, on Halloween two thousand and eleven, I not only felt the Aha moment that I did the year earlier, but I also felt the celebration and that completely launched me off into my gender journey. So from then on I sorted, you know, grow out my hair, more as our wearing, more makeup, I did more quote unquote, drag and cross dressing, and I got to the point two years later when I was like you know what, I know it's not just about how I look, because it's about how I feel, and I don't feel like a man, I don't feel like a woman, I'm not pineer. The LGBTQ PLUS COM...

...unity encapsulates so many different spectrums of identity, each with their own set of struggles. So when I think about spectrums of identity, they can include race, class, nationality, ethnicity, abilities, so many different things go into our spectrums right in our identities. But for the LGBTQ community we're dealing with sexual orientation, gender identity, sex identity, gender expression, right, and those are four things that each have different issues in different needs as well. To you, right. So we're talking about Trans People. Trans people can also be straight or queer or bisexual or whatever. Be Right, and Queer people could be trans, could be sis, could be whatever, right, could be intersects. Intersects people could be queer, could be straight, could be trans, could be not right, because sometimes intersects people, when they're often assigned a gender at birth, of being a boy or girl, even though they're intersects. Right, most intersect people actually grow up and they continue to identify with the gender that they were as signed at birth. Right. But the issue is around surgeries at birth, right, not necessarily around coming out as a certain gender identity. What we're now we're getting into more transgender issues. Right. So you see how sometimes they're different issues and different needs. But it's interesting. What brings us all together is that stigma that we face is that we're supposed to fit into a neat box, right, and that we have certain roles that were supposed to follow as men and women, Male, female, Masklin Feminine, Right, and our community just doesn't do that. So that's how we that's how we all come together, is by what we face and by what we go through, not necessarily because of how we identify, but because the world doesn't see US differently. You can be a a gay man walking down the street, a Trans Woman, an intersects person to and people see you because you look different and they can call you the same slur right, because they see us all the same, unfortunately. So, because we're seeing as all the same, we have to unite together, we have to be there for each other and support each other and with that recognized, to that under that, under that umbrella, some of us have privilege, some of us don't, right, and so we really have to recognize, okay, what do I go through? That is a little bit easier than my Trans Women of Color Siblings or my intersect siblings, or whoever it be, right, how can I really step up and support them, because we're all going through the same shit, we're all going through these same systems. Right, makes sense? Yeah, definitely. You. You kind of hit something to where you talked about your are I think you said it was your white privilege m a little bit ago. Yeah, your experience can be really hard, just taking the dog out. Do you feel like your friends, people who are, let's say, Trans Women of Color, yeah, face even more animosity just because they're not white. Absolutely, absolutely, I think that Cutiepok, which is Queer and Trans people of Color, specially black and indigenous Queer and Trans people, go through so many more obstacles and hoops and loops and is m's and I will ever have to. And that's not something that I just know from experience, as something that we see in statistics and data to right and in fact, to when we're thinking about Trans Day of Remembrance, with which just passed, most of the list are transgender women of Color, specifically black, Latina and Indigenous Trans Women, and we also think too about how sixty one percent of murders of transgender murders since two thousand and eight have been of sex workers. We also have to think too that many of these Trans Women of color are denied employment opportunities and economic achievement and the ability to thrive that they have to, you know, really rely on survival, sex work in order to live and to just survive, not even thrive, just to survive. And there is something wrong with sex work, of course, but when that's your only option and and that option comes with so many layers of stigma, and violence in itself, to from clients and from police officers, to who are also racially motivated right and also transphobic, and may even take aok advantage of those situations to to sexually assault those Trans Women of color who are engaging in sex work. You just have to think, too, about how many more obstacles they go through. When I used to work at transiting a coalition and Apai T and strength united here...

...in Los Angeles County, providing services to survivors of violence or people who were homeless or people who needed HIV care, most of my clients and most people that I see from my programs were transgender women of color. So it's just I didn't see a lot of white, non binary or Trans People like me. I saw people who are at those intersections of facing multiple layers of oppression, multiple forms of is m's right, and navigating that in a way where they're just trying to survive. And for me, thankfully, I am not at that point where I'm just trying to survive. I can thrive, I can be me. I'm in love, I have a good job, I have my own business and I have a loving, supportive community too, and I also have the tools in order to be me and success, the successful, and these are tools that I know and a family and so many other opportunities that I know have come to me because of my white privilege, and that's something that our own community has to recognize too, that it's not just about being gay or trans. Will mean that you're going to be susceptible or vulnerable to all different types of hate. We might even be able to get into more rooms and more opportunities because of our white privilege, right, and that's not something that's bad to talk about. It's just a fact and once we acknowledge it as a fact and we can address that, we can really leverage that in order to make more significant change for the community and really step up as allies, step up as advocates, step up with our platforms and privilege in order to make that change. To Circle back to the the role model, you have their youtube channel. Have you spoken to that person since? I tried, since they detransitioned. Yeah, I've tried. I let that person know that you know that I'm always here to talk, you know, for them to talk to me they ever want to, and that person just ignored my messages and I don't expect anything to come out of it necessarily, but I do hope that they know that if they do every want to talk about it and, I don't know, just open up a little bit more to that, they can. But again, I don't know the full story and I don't know everything that they've been through, but I hope that one day or at some point they have the tools and community and support that they need. And this person is, you know, talking about race right. This person was a openly general conforming black person to write. So thinking to also about all the layers that they're going through that I haven't had to go through, right, and all the pressure to to conform. Yeah, it's tough. It's like I saying earlier, there's a lot of there's a lot of things that we go through as community members to and at the same time there's so much hope. I mean just this year alone we've seen more trans in nonbinary people in media than ever before. I'm I haven't seeing so many more people not just writing books about Trans and albinary people, but trans and nonbinary artists and writers taking those steps to share their own stories too. I love seeing how much advocacy is coming out of the world right now to in, even though we're in a chaotic and scary time with our own government too. I feel that sometimes it's under that type of pressure that the most beautiful, organized thing and ideas come out, and that's what I've been seeing. is so much resilience, so much strength, and I know that our future is only going to get brighter and will have more opportunities to be not only us but to thrive as nonbinary intersects trans people, not only as Addison, doing amazing advocacy work within the LGBTQ pus community, but they're also committed to simply being a beacon of light and hope. Addison is an activist you want to keep up with. So if you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me at at break, the binary, so break tche ban a ARY. Had to like think about that for a second. You can also find me on facebook, which is Addison Rose Vincent. You can follow my business to on instagram or on facebook at break the Binary LLC.

You can also follow nonbinary union of Los Angeles if you'd like to join our monthly social events. That is at the Nebula so tche NBULA yeah, do you have anything else you want to talk about? Just want to let folks know that, you know, if you're listening and you someone who's struggling with your own gender identity or your sex identity and you don't feel you have anyone to talk to, please know that you can always message me, that there are so many people out there that understand what you're going through and that you're just not alone, that I'm here for you, I support you and you'll get through anything. Thanks for listening. We want to take a minute now to honor Trans Day of Remembrance, which was on November. Twenty at least twenty two trans and non binary people were killed this year in the US alone. Pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and a review on Apple podcasts, spotify or wherever you're tuning in from. Share us with your friends, subscribe and follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter at pride. You can follow me at Lea by chambers. Pride is produced by me, Maggie Bowls and Ryan Tillotson, edited by Sebastian all Colla. I know I like it because it makes me feel like a pilot, oh my God, right, like we should be like and we're coming into Chicago. Thank you very much for flying. Please stow your yeah, you're Michael Pilot. I love it. Okay,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (151)