It was a big move for me, first deciding to wear a wig. It was an uncomfortable thing to step into, but now, I own that aspect of my look and love it! I wear them in so many different ways! I feel like there’s a real stigma around wearing wigs, like they’re mostly used to cover something up. I wish I could change that in some way because, really, they’re an accessory, to be played with, adapted and enjoyed. I wish people would funk them up more. They should see what I do with them! I tear them apart! I style them, distort them until they’re almost unrecognisable! It’s so much fun!
It took a lot of courage for me to initially step into creative. It was a huge metaphorical step that was the first concrete acknowledgement of my relationship with my gender. And in fact, it paved the way for me, becoming comfortable with the person that I am today and how I express my identity.
“I honour my authentic self”
As a Young kid, I knew I didn’t fit into the typical male/female gender roles but it wasn’t until I was 38 years old that I actually acknowledged this need to explore the feeling within myself that something wasn’t quite right. I owed it to myself to explore this and to really honour my authentic self.
I sought advice from counselors and psychologists. My wife has been instrumental in her support of this journey. We’ve been together for over 15 years! It hasn’t been easy exploring my gender while in a relationship but she has been amazing, keeping me on track and aware of the bigger picture at difficult times when I struggled with the judgmental glares and slurs of mainstream society. I try to remain positive and hopeful that the world is growing and opening up to the extreme diversity of gender, sexuality and whatever personal choices people make, but it gets hard at times.
Although my wife knew I was different when we first met, I don’t think she knew quite how different. So we’ve had to work through that together. The connection we have is really special. But, like all relationships, it takes effort and compromise.
I experimented with the wide variety of gender expression – more feminine, more masculine until I realised that I am in fact my own interpretation of gender. I prefer being uninterpretable. I like the ambiguity of how I’m perceived. That people can’t really read me. I hate to be labelled.
Being gender neutral can be awkward for people. They so commonly want to put you into a box. Which makes sense, language makes it really difficult not to. I see people feel uneasy trying to address me but it’s really just when they assume, that I feel most uncomfortable.
So finally being here, authentically representing my inner self, quite flamboyantly at times, I’m really thrilled by not caring what people think, how I’m seen and judged. It took a long time to get here, but now I’m used to my new way of being, feeling, looking and it’s a massive relief and so satisfying.
If this journey has taught me anything, it would be to try and remain in touch myself and what I believe. Trusting intuition before all else, while remaining open to different ways of actualising that instinct, patiently and with respect for myself and those around me. Community is vital. People need support and finding community where one can feel that sense of safety makes such a difference.