Written by Bre Ukweli
Men are constantly weighing their own masculinity against mine. As if my clothes define my level of “almost manhood.” No one stepped up when a man threatened me in my own ‘safe’ space. No one notices the way they frown at me and talk to me as if my opinion of the world doesn’t matter. No one notices when people–even people in my own family–say, “well it’s a man thing, something only us alpha males understand,” as if I was trying to understand the way of men. As if I won’t always come up short in comparison.
I’m constantly weighing my appearance in foggy shower mirrors wondering if the reflection will ever feel sufficient for more than a moment at a time. As if I haven’t spent my entire existence trying to build this persona, trying to clothe it, to protect it from men grabbing me on the street. Trying to remind myself to not lower my eyes when a man walks past me on a street corner because I’m tired of feeling like I disgust everyone.
No one asks what the butch/stud/dom perspective of the world is. They only want to hear from our partners and the people who claim to love us in our own light.
No one asks how intensely hard it is walking into a new barbershop, no one asks what effect our partners’ sexual requests make on our psyche. No one asks how hard it is to grow up ME in a world of SHE and HEs.
Bre is a 24-year-old gender-fluid person living in South Florida. She is a shade connoisseur hopelessly chasing skylines, sunsets and social justice.