To all the trans, genderqueer, or nonbinary youth that might read this

Hi. I am a twenty-nine year old nonbinary weirdo with facial hair and breasts and a pretty massive chip on my shoulder. I write things—sometimes even things about trans or nonbinary people!—and I work as a bike mechanic, and I have family and friends who love me. I’ve suffered through probably a half-dozen identity crises about my gender and how I express it. I’m comfortable with who I am and I’m happy with how I look, even if it means getting harassed on the streets (ugh, Chicago). Even though it means that people ask me rude or intrusive questions, even though it makes me a target for people’s bigotry and ignorance: I live my life according to my own desires, happiness, and standards. I call that successful adulthood, regardless of how often I eat cookies for breakfast or that I barely make enough money to get by. So I guess that makes this a #RealLiveTransAdult post.

I have friends who have transitioned, who are in the middle of transitioning, who are totally uninterested in passing as one gender or another. There’s no one single way to be a woman, or a man, or a human. We are all literally making this shit up as we go along.

It’s hard as hell sometimes. It’s a struggle to go out when you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, and when nobody lets you forget that you’re different. It’s even harder if you’re a person of color, if you’re feminine or transfeminine, if you come from a family or culture that doesn’t accept or appreciate the expression of your true self, if you’re poor or don’t have a community or a support network.

Do what you have to do to get through your day. From my own life, I can say that the struggle is worth it: there are moments of beauty and clarity and love and recognition. They haven’t always outweighed the bad days, but they are there and they’re real. I’m eight months from turning 30, and there have been plenty of moments where I never believed I’d make it this far. Do what you can, do what you have to, help everyone else make it along the way.

We’re all waiting for you, praying for you, and trying to build a better world for you all.

PLACES THAT CAN HELP:

Chicago-based:

Housing resources from Project Fierce
Broadway Youth Center
Genderqueer Chicago group
TransLife Center at Chicago House (focuses on HIV+ people)
TransTech

Everywhere:

Trans People of Color Coalition
Trans Lifeline

Trans Housing Network (If you have a free couch and can host people trying to get on their feet, PLEASE put up an offer, especially if you’re on the US West Coast)
We Happy Trans
ScarletTeen’s Transgender tag
Trans*H4CK

Feel free to add anything I’ve forgotten!

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