I read an article on yahoo today that really tore me to pieces. The story was about a young transgendered boy in Jamaica named Dwayne Jones who after dressing as a girl to a high school party, was beaten to death. The article further explained how Dwayne’s friend and roommate (who attended the party with him) was assaulted and almost raped just for associating with Dwayne.
The most heartbreaking bit?
“Dwayne’s father in the Montego Bay slum of North Gully didn’t want to talk about his son’s life or death. The teen’s family wouldn’t even claim the body, according to Dwayne’s friends.”
I just want to take a minute to reflect and express how deep my gratitude is for the life I’ve been given. Oftentimes I think we forget how fortunate the LGBT community in America is compared to other countries. That’s not to say LGBT in America are by any means treated perfectly, as we still have a lot of work to do regarding marriage equality and anti-bullying laws, but reading this story reminded me just how blessed I am to have been born into a family that chose to love me regardless of my sexuality or gender. More importantly, I was born into a time of progressive acceptance for LGBT citizens, where there are support groups, advocates, and allies around every corner of this country.
But what I really want to think about is the importance of the T in LGBT. I think oftentimes the gay community excludes or ignores transgendered youth. I think the thing that’s really struck me about this story is Dwayne’s courage. He chose to be himself in front of a crowd of his peers and that is something to admire. I am not transgendered and I can’t imagine how suffocatingly difficult it would be to express oneself in a body that didn’t match my spirit, but I know what it’s like to not fit in with gender norms, and it has been very difficult for me to be myself 100% of the time because of that. My deepest sympathies go towards ANYONE who understands and intimately feels that their biologically “assigned” gender does not represent what’s within. Human society has structured such a powerful dichotomy between what is “masculine” and “feminine” that it becomes otherwise “queer” when someone can’t categorize themselves as one or the other, and I think that’s a horrible shame.
I truly resent these dichotomies. I’ve never felt like a “man” but I sure as hell don’t want to be a “woman”. I am my own person. I am my own spirit and my own being. I don’t want to be either “man” or “woman”. I’m myself. I’m comfortable in my skin (though it wouldn’t hurt to shed a few pounds). This body is my own and no one else’s, and how I perceive myself is not up for debate by anyone else. I really wish more people in the world could understand that sentiment and that fewer gay men would chose to stay misinformed on gender. I cringe every time I hear “I hate feminine gays” or “I’m only attracted to masculine guys”. It’s important, I think, to rule out those stereotypes and to keep our minds open to the possibility that anatomy and sexuality don’t always reflect our gender. Gay men should be especially open to this as owning a penis technically leaves us responsible for procreating with a uterus. Gay men misuse our provided anatomy constantly, thus we know our anatomy does not define what we are attracted to. Our anatomy does not define who we are on the inside and what we are put on this earth to do. Just think about that.
This post had no end point or conclusion, I just think it’s important to discuss the diversity of ideas, people, and possibilities there are in the LGBT community. Some people are blessed with strong families and others are blessed with nothing but the courage to be themselves.
Dwayne Jones, wherever you are, I want to thank you for reminding me how blessed I am for my family, for my friends, for this body I grew up in, and for the many beautiful opportunities I’ve had in my life so far to be who I want to be. You may not have been loved by many, being born into a world of hatred, but I love you and you inspire me. I’d rather die being who I am, than to live trying to be something I’m not. May your soul rest in peace, friend.
The article referred to earlier can be found here: