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Alternatives authenticity Featured Gender Dysphoria Inspired Love meditation mental health Non-Binary Transitions

Do I Fit-In to the Transgender Community?

I have asked myself this question again and again. Early in my journey into gender exploration, I lived in Baltimore, MD where I first visited transgender support groups. In my short-lived visits among the communities, I felt I didn’t fit in, because I didn’t want to get surgery or take hormones. My entire life I felt like I could not engage with our western medical model of pills, surgeries and managing symptoms. Something inside me was very clear that this was not for me. I don’t and won’t take medications. Instead, I have learned about herbal medicine and natural methods to healing. If I get a headache, I take skullcap, drink water or vinegar or close my eyes and breathe deep. I am attracted to natural cures, alternative medicine, and vibrational healing. It’s as much who I am as my gender identity.

I found myself staring into the eyes of Ian Harvie at the Central Pennsylvania Keystone Conference. I was presenting on GenderQueer and as I began to speak about my experience of accepting that I was born into a ‘female’ body and choosing to not change it, does that still make me transgender? Ian looked at me, Man to Man, and validated me. Reassuring me that I was as much part of the transgender community as I wanted to be and that my transgender experience was as real as his surgeries. I didn’t even know who Ian Harvie was until I looked him up because I had a free ticket to his show as part of my payment for presenting. It wasn’t because he was a well known trans man but because after hearing his jokes I knew for sure he had surgeries and synthetic hormones. He was the “REAL THING” in my mind and his validation pushed me further onto my path to transition naturally. I had recently begun to engage in daily meditation and yoga practices to convince my mind that I was a man.

Gender Dysphoria takes me for a ride, too. I would spend my two days off in my garden, starting the day with deep meditation and vision of my ‘male’ body. Feeling my flat chest, my large upper body, my penis and testicles between my legs and knowing in my mind that I was male. I would include this vision in my play, as a drag king. I love to dance and perform, and drag won my heart. I would spend my days knowing and walking in what I knew to be a ‘male’ body. When I looked in the mirror it was often disturbing because it did not match my vision of myself. So I often didn’t look in the mirror unless I was practicing drag. I did this daily practice for over a year and eventually, my body began to listen and I began perimenopause.

The journey in menopause has been real, hormones have a way of making one sick in all ways. Emotionally, of course, we can find ourselves sideways and this can lead to issues with our thoughts and beliefs. I didn’t realize that perimenopause had begun until a relationship ended, life changed quickly, and my life began to look like mine. I had also spent that time, when I was focusing on my ‘male’ body, on clearing trauma and finding my authentic self. So when I changed my resonance, the vibration I was attracting, my life changed very quickly and my dreams began to manifest. Life was awesome yet now my body was changing and I was having ‘hot flashes’ – It was my time to dive deep into this whole women’s journey thing. Early yes, although feeling overwhelmed, I dove deep into menopause. Reading and learning all I could from wise women who spoke about their journey I found myself awakening to the realization that I had fully experienced life as a woman and now I was entering full androgyne. Truly, physical androgyne. When I understood what wise women have been saying about menopause for years I began to truly comprehend my change. Apparently, some people going through menopause struggle with losing their ‘womanhood’. I was not having this struggle and I was eager to get through, naturally and fully. I comprehend that it could take years and still I vision my male body. All the things I do, I see myself with a male body. There are times I truly think top surgery would be an option but at this time it is not on my priority list.

When I do look in the mirror now and see my ‘female’ body I know that my experience as a ‘female’ has ended. Now I realize that it was only the first part of my path, only my first step in truly understanding androgyne. Now as I see myself ‘male’ and know that I am ‘male’ I am often less bothered by misgendering. On my better days misgendering leads me to feel sorry for the one that just misgendered me, they haven’t comprehended the fullness of my gender. They are only seeing my physical body and this leads me to believe they only see my body, it’s clear the rest of me is male. They are unable to fully comprehend my gender identity. My gender identity is BECAUSE of my experience of being born into this body. My birth into this body has awakened a Divine Androgyne that is clearly both male and female, and if someone misses that, they don’t see me. It’s okay if people don’t see me, I accept that not all people need to see me. This understanding has to lead me to pay close attention to those that DO see me. The ones that do see my masculine, my maleness, my full gender spectrum, my both, my divine androgyne – those are the people that I want in my inner circle. These are the people I trust, these are the people I call friends. Of course, friends misgender me, but rarely, and when they do they follow it up with the opposite. So if someone calls me a ‘she’ by accident, they will soon call me ‘he’ several times, and then return to ‘they’.

I explain to my friends and people that inquire, that when I hear myself as a ‘she’ it hurts, like punching me in the gut. When I hear ‘he’ it feels like a hug, a pat on the back or a kiss. When I hear ‘they’ it feels right, it feels like I belong. In this, they know that using ‘he’ for me can kind of ‘make up’ for the accidental ‘she’ without having to have a long ‘sorry for misgendering you, geeze I thought I had it.’ conversation. So instead of feeling like a burden because I ask all my friends to change their language to accommodate me, it helps me feel loved and respected, which is a basic human need. I have noticed that if a friend and I are hanging out with someone that misgenders me a lot, it pushes them out of their habit and back into misgender language. When my friend applies this tactic they are better able to keep it balanced, it reminds the person that is misgendering me and my friend serves as the perfect ally. I am constantly expressing gratitude for anyone that does this for me as it shows true love and respect for me, and shows they see me on a much deeper level.

I feel that transformation is a lifelong process and I love my natural approach to my gender experience. Yet, there are times that when I reach out to the transgender community they judge me. They judge me because I didn’t take the hormones because I didn’t have the surgery. It hurts, it hurts when your own people see you as other. I have had to really process this hurt and I turned to Brene’ Brown for some guidance. I had received some public shaming in a Facebook group and had spent too much time taking it all in. First, many of them weren’t ‘in the arena’ as Brene would say. It meant they weren’t writers or bloggers, yet I was, and their feedback doesn’t matter because they weren’t in the arena. Second thing that really changed the experience for me was her study about fitting-in vs. belonging. She talked about how there was a clear difference between the two and how trying to ‘fit-in’ only took us away from our authentic selves. My spiritual path, my reason for being alive is to be authenticly me and for me that means no hormones and no surgeries. Yet now my body is changing, naturally, and would anyone deny me my right to claim that I am a trans man? Occasionally, it does still happen but I must remember that regardless of someone else’s opinion, my experience is still valid. It is clear that I don’t ‘fit-in’ to the transgender community but I certainly belong!

Those of us that don’t ‘fit-in’ we serve a very important role in the evolution of the human race. We go against the status quo and in that we help reinforce the most important things of all, we are all important, we are all connected and we all need love. I believe that people that push gender boundaries, regardless of how, are here to serve as a Divine Androgyne. This means that as long as they embrace their most authentic self, they will change the world to more fully understand the concept of gender. Humans will evolve out of gender eventually, we don’t need it anymore. For some people, this concept is scary. For me, it is a concept I see as obvious. We are moving away from separate, we are erasing the lines that separate us. Gender deconstruction is a large piece of what separates us, and we know it. Divine Androgynes, regardless of how it shows up for them or what they decide to do with the experience, are here to help us have a deeper understanding of how it separates us and how to move past it, beyond gender. I am not sure if I will ever see the end to gender, but I know that I am alive and I am to be part of the revolution. I belong in the transgender community, even if I do challenge the status quo.

 

 

 

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Alternatives Featured Healthy Holistic Inspired Love meditation Non-Binary ReWiring Your Brain

Divine Authenticity?!

As a gender variant person, a gender non-conforming person, a person that doesn’t identify with either side of the gender binary I have found that authenticity is at my center. When a person like me is faced with such a huge opposition to societial norms we are forced to face our own authenticity. When we don’t we find ourselves depressed, mentally ill, and overall disconnected from ourselves and the world. Many of us will try to fill those roles expected of us as whatever we were assigned at birth but for most of us, that means ignoring or giving up a big part of ourselves. As we come out of the closet and learn to embrace this authentic gender expression we are faced with personal shame, societal rejection, invisibility, and an overall feeling of being an outcast. We search for others like us… and in our tribe we discover there is an entire authentic person beneath that gender-nonconforming expression. Yes, we are gender-nonconforming but we are so much more as well.

I personally still struggle with staying authentic and have found all sorts of things that keep us away from our authenticity. All that is expected of us as children and projected on us from our parents is usually the first layer to be removed. Many of us naturally do this in puberty and young adulthood. Then as we mature we learn there is more to us than the role we play, that if we work to stay within our role we will actually deny ourselves that. As a mother and wife I found myself lacking expression of my divine masculine and found that when I began to explore it, just that act of masculine explorations was enough to push me to change my personal expressions. I soon divorced my husband and thought that by being with a woman it would be easier to express my divine masculine. Although I actually learned that my divine masculine was not just wrapped around my romantic and sexual desires and instead it included even more. Exploring the concepts of gender where not just simply romantic and sexual, nature shows us they actually include much more than that. As I personally began to unfold my own beliefs and concepts around gender I was faced with a deeper understanding of the human race as a whole.

In my exploration I discovered authenticity, I happened upon it in my unraveling and in my awakening. At first I thought, “Hollis you are very different than other people, a different perspective and a different way of being. You are an outcast.” This was no different than how I felt when I played gender roles, how could this be? No, I didn’t play gender roles and instead tried to express myself as real as possible. I began setting boundaries, speaking my truth, and dressing how it suited me that day. People had to leave my life because my boundaries or truth speaking was just ‘too much’ for them. I began to listen to other people’s boundaries and even helping them set them when they didn’t understand why they were so upset.  In that support for other people’s boundaries, I began to understand authenticity even deeper. Some people that we think are authentic or ‘being themselves’ are often acting out of an insecurity wound, therefore still not authentic. In helping others define, speak and find their boundaries and truth I found that my own personal insecurity wound began to unravel, because now I had an understanding that almost everyone struggles with authenticity in our culture. Most cultures do not support an authentic expression, they may say they do but we all know that when we challenge the status quo we are faced with rejection, distrust, and even possibly endanger ourselves and those around us. Many cultures, certainly American, deeply suffer from narcissism and codependency – (mentally illnesses that depend on each other to exist) which keeps us all from our authentic path.

When we are on our authentic path we know it because we call it ‘bliss’. In the Fire Circle community after 3 nights of all-night fires people can finally feel free to be ‘themselves’ and in this expression, they call it ‘bliss’. Its when we feel loved for who we are, not what role we play. In every authentic expression I have ever met there is a deep need for authentic connection, a need to be respected and loved for who you are, naturally.  Authenticity is completely unique for each and every one of else and in that, we are a rainbow of people.

In my book Divine Androgyne – A Sacred Path for Gender Variant People I help detail out steps to unravel what keeps you from your most authentic self. Everything from childhood trauma, gender roles, peer pressure, and a lack of our connection to nature and divinity can keep us from our authentic self. Many of us learn, especially in the Fire Circle, spiritual & psychic community, and pagan community, that in our authentic selves we can be celebrated more deeply. We can feel more accepted, seen and loved in communities with authentic leaders that also work to express authentically. Authenticity is when we take time to connect with the divine to understand all our parts, even our shadows. When we learn to embrace our shadows, know our quirks, and share our light we find a deep fulfillment deep inside. We are all created completely unique and each one of us has a unique experience of life, we are all spiritual beings with unique gifts to share with the world. We all have connections to the ‘other side’ and ‘divinity’ and are capable of helping others in our communities.

When a leader in a group is insecure and acts on that insecurity we find things like narcissism and sociopathy. The divine has gifted us the experience of awakening to these sick ways. The old leadership styles that include things like control and dominance, lead to those around these old leaders to act on THEIR insecurity in ways we call ‘co-dependance’. Some of us play one role more than the other, while some of us work to bow out of this game. These groups can evolve into cults and have formed our culture for years, now Americans are known narcissists. We even talk about how we have entire generations of narcissists. Today many people are awakening to these old ways of leadership and finally stepping forward to call people out on them. The #MeTOO movement, the unraveling of long-time cults, the dwindling popularity of being part of those groups, the gender and sexuality revolution, and the general mental health unraveling is becoming more evident every day. This is our evolution, humans are finally saying ENOUGH! We will evolve away from these old ways of being. As we shed our codependent and narcissistic ways we will begin to step into true authenticity and the communities able to embrace said authenticity will rise from their grassroots!

We can know a truly authentic person when some very important vibrations are present such as vulnerability, can the person show their most vulnerable state? Have you sensed that this person is sharing something or doing something that creates vulnerability for them? Vulnerability is different for most of us. Have you witnessed a true and deep apology, that’s a good way to know if someone can be vulnerable. We all have different boundaries and needs, a gender variant person might find themselves having to ask people for gender pronouns that are appropriate and in this act, we ‘out ourselves’ as transgender and can receive a target upon that act. We know it, too, that’s why we don’t always ask. Not just a target of crazy violent people but also those that refuse our gender pronouns, that say its too much for them or that we are just creating trouble in asking for this pronoun thing. Although there is also great reward in the opening to vulnerability, when we do ask we are likely to find allies that are willing to stand up for us. When we share the risk of being transgender with our allies we can find connection and support, the ultimate in life rewards. We find our boundaries and begin to draw them, even just one at a time is better than ignoring that upset feeling in your gut when someone calls you by the wrong pronoun. Most of us have different boundaries like about giving gratitude, who wants to keep giving to someone that never says Thank you or recognizes our gifts? We all have boundaries and when we are brave enough to define them we will find ourselves even more confident than before when we were hiding our vulnerability and ‘not saying anything’ or ‘being nice’ about boundary-crossing. SPEAK UP, we NEED YOU TO SPEAK UP! When we act from our own integrity, when we respond to emotions rather than react we find that our response is more in line with our true authentic self. We have all reacted to something and regretted it later, yet on the other emotionally triggering moments we have been able to process the emotion, realize the impact of our reaction and then craft a more aligned response. When we respond to emotional situations we can find that we are acting in our most authentic of integrity. When we hold our integrity as real, necessary and as our personal guide we feel more secure, confident and authentic. In that walk we are authentic and when we can walk this way in the world our lives will speak our authentic messages. Each of us have authentic messages for the world.

We each have our own experience and journey ahead of us and the divine intended for each one of us to walk an authentic path that will not only inspire others but manifest things that will heal the world at large. You will know when you are expressing authentically because you feel like an authentic magickal creature spreading their wings with a deep sense of security, depth, and confidence. Go where people will celebrate your authenticity and more of you will unfold for the world, and suddenly you will begin to feel like the wealthiest person alive and your bank account will have little to do with it. You will know because you will feel secure, you will feel loved, and you will feel free. We must offer our light to the world, humanity is relying on it, nature is relying on it, the planet earth needs us NOW. Find your authentic path and walk it with confidence & strength, just because it’s authentic doesn’t mean its easy. Only YOU know your most authentic self, show us so we can celebrate YOUR part of the rainbow!

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authenticity Featured Holistic Inspired Love Non-Binary Transitions

Spirituality for Gender Non-Conforming People?

By Hollis Taylor

When I first began on my path of gender-bending, drag, and general queerness I consistently would feel that connections lacked depth. I was desiring something much deeper than how to apply a beard with spirit gum, walk like a man, or find a supportive community. It was great that we could connect into safe communities yet I was still seeking something deeper. I found myself reading articles about how ancient and indigenous cultures treated their gender-variant people as shamans or spiritual guides! I often found myself wondering how my friends in the queer community felt about spirituality. When I asked them I was disappointed by what I heard. Some would take the time to explain that most religions see us as evil, that by bending gender we are essentially ‘the evil ones’. Some of my friends even celebrated their desire to ‘corrupt’ and would make tons of jokes about it. Then I began to distinguish the difference between religions and spirituality and some queer friends got it right away.

I would find myself in sad conversations with other spiritual gender variant people. It would turn out that a lot of us felt like we had no place in the world, much less no right to claim any spiritual path. When I spent time in prayer about this I found that my call to spirituality was for a very important reason. No, I didn’t need to get on hormones to change how my body appeared and nor did I need surgery. NO, I needed to write a book! I resisted and self-sabotaged for years and eventually with a community to support me I was able to finally produce a book that would hopefully empower gender-variant people to explore their spiritual path. The book, Divine Androgyne: A Sacred Path for Gender Variant People, outlines the steps that can be taken over time to help us get in touch with our authentic path. That was my first step and now as I pray more I get that I must do more to bring us all together, now.

There is a spiritual meaning to all gender variant people that have lived and will live. It is likely much deeper than I have come to understand over time. In my lifetime I have constantly noticed gender variant people in my world and I have been called to them like someone gets called to the mountains. Ok, so I was called to the mountains, too! (Giggles) Some of us don’t really understand why we are called to this identity, we just know its deep down inside like a bubble that must come up! The reason is many-sided I am sure but the reason I have come to understand is that the future of all humanity depends on the abandonment of gender roles. We must abandon gender roles because it hurts everyone! It forces us into a box we don’t necessarily need to be in and in that we are revolutionaries. We are here to change how humanity interacts in the world. Its a necessary evolution for the human race. I am sure there are other deep reasons for our existence and I would love to hear them! I know for me this means that regardless of what religion has ever done to any of us or our ancestors, that today we are all meant to develop our own relationship with the divine. Authentically and completely ours as we see it, know it deeply to be real and meaningful, and to follow that as our guide. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we all came together as a group and validated each other, supported each other, and listened and learned from each other? As a group of authentic beings to spiritually support each others growth and yes we likely will influence each other. I think we are supposed to influence each other, yet right now it comes out as control and submission. Eventually, we will evolve away from that dynamic into a more harmonious connection. I believe gender variant people are here to walk that path, to carve it out of our future. Why gender variant people? Simple. Many of us are truly connected to our most authentic selves, and in that its harder to control us. The more you walk authentically the less likely you are to tolerate or allow manipulative control tactics, even the subtle ones. Then what happens is that forces the controller to re-evaluate their own behaviors, therefore becoming more authentic. When you’re authentic you become aware of what really resonates with you and what doesn’t. Even if something doesn’t resonate with you, its easy to shrug it off as ‘not for me’ and move on. So YES we can influence each other and YES in a healthy intentional way!

As I walk my own path I am sometimes overwhelmed, sometimes I trip and fall, sometimes I even step off, sometimes I celebrate and dance, giggle and laugh. Sometimes I cry and scream and sometimes I whimper in pain. Other days I smile and breathe in peace, some days I even breathe OUT peace. All the while I feel held by something bigger than myself, something larger than life, larger than the universe itself. The divine to me is all energies together and none of them singularly. To me, the divine embodies all I need in the world. When I connect to the divine, I get clearly what I am to do next. When it turns out a mistake, I ask for the lesson I needed to learn and inevitably I find it. Simply because we are all divine, we are all connected to a whole that is divine and in that we all deeply know exactly what is good for us. When I ask the divine, ok the book is out there, now what? Promote it & create retreats for your readers! A safe place for them to be them – and explore their spirituality in depth. Of course, I resist with “Who me?” and “Why me?” and I am reminded that there is no choice I must just keep moving forward.

When I do dive deep with another gender variant person I am often moved to tears of joy and release. It’s like something overcomes me when I connect with a gender variant person and I want to see them grow, succeed and bloom. I suppose that’s for all people I meet, regardless, I find deep satisfaction to hold the hand of a person looking to walk their most authentic path. It’s as honorable as holding the hand of a person on their death bed!

I want to dive deeper with other gender variant people and support each other on a deeply authentic and spiritual path. There is a strong chance that I might do a retreat, Costa Rica 2020 – specifically for Gender Variant or Questioning people. It feels scary, maybe more scary than sharing my personal story in my book yet I still feel pushed at it. Creating safe space to express authentically, creating a ceremony to help us truly integrate our own authentic spiritual path, and creating lifelong bonds with each other as a community of gender-variant people.

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Healthy Inspired Love Permanent Change Transitions

Weird? Strange?

Ever stop yourself from doing something because its weird? Strange? Often the judgement of weird and strange come up for me. Although I realize that I am the one judging myself at the same time I am aware that people also have this judgement of me, they use those words! Some of us that are more unusual often feel this way and find ourselves holding back from our communities because of the judgement. Why do we need to conform like everyone else? Is it necessary to be “normal” – the opposite of weird? There are times being weird can be dangerous, like male bodied people that wear dresses could find themselves in a very dangerous situation. Of course, its dangerous for most gender benders in the world. Also people on the spectrum and other unusual expressions are called “weird”. This judgement mostly arises when someone has done something that everyone else is not doing, whatever that might be.

First, we must deal with our own judgement. I find myself often not saying anything about my gender expression to strangers out of fear of being seen as weird. Why am I afraid to be weird? First I stop judging myself because my gender expression brings light to the world in a variety of ways and to hide it from the world will leave me feeling oppressed. When I do bring it the the world is blessed with  gender diversity. Diversity does a very special thing, when we can move past judgement we can instead celebrate each other. When I catch myself judging myself, I instead move to a space of celebrations. I find all the reasons why its good to be a gender bender, a bug lover, sex positive person, or a herp fan. I assure you I have a dozen other “weird” traits. I try to find a way to celebrate these traits, for instance being a Drag King helps with my gender bending, because its a way to celebrate my gender bend. I also express the bug lover through environmentalism, the planet certainly needs more allies. As for being sex positive, having a female body makes it even weirder, but instead I celebrate that even for all I have been through sexually I have found healing. As a result I can express myself sexually and be proud of my sexuality, not ashamed. Sex is a natural expression of the human being.

Once I get past judging myself I move into expressing it outwards. I usually start with safe communities but eventually I will be so busy celebrating my “weird” that I forget people are going to judge me. So, at some point, someone will give me the “weird” look or tell me how I am not anything but a WOMAN! The other way some people judge me is that I am just so “out there” that everything I do is dismissed and considered ridiculous. In this I challenge them, when its safe. I ask about their judgement and when confronted almost no one will admit to it, naturally we all know its not a peaceful act. Simply, they know they have judged me and its likely unfair, therefore they let it go and deny it ever happened. This is a typical human response. Other times the more I explain my side of things the more the judgement falls away and understanding is found. The ones I respect the most are the ones that, even though they did judge me at first are willing to admit they were wrong and apologize. This is the easiest way to earn respect after judging someone.

I know that changes must begin with me so I try not to judge a person. This has been a real challenge for me as a sun sign Virgo, we often struggle with self judgement and judgement of others. So when I find myself judging someone I try to stop immediately an then find the space to apologize. If I simply judge in my mind I try to explore why I judged. Does this person scare me? Do they threaten me? What am I judging – them or their behaviors? Once I am clear I can apologize and move past it quickly. I subscribe to karma theories and feel that the less I judge others – the less I will be judged for my so called “weirdness”. In this lack of judgement I have made many unique friends and am blessed with their “strangeness”.

Like in the song from the Doors “People are Strange” when we are judged, we are often judged by others and ourselves. Therefore we often judge others and our perspective of the world ends up being very dim and dark. Although the Doors might have been categorized as strange, and I assure you Jim Morrison was very strange for his time. He was constantly judged for his “weirdness” maybe this is what lead the genius to an ending with drugs. I feel like our culture lost as a result of his death but gained with what he left behind. Whatever is strange in us is likely to light up the world once we arrive authentically.

When someone arrives completely authentic some of us might be quick to judge, but often those of us that have found ourselves judged are likely to pull back from the judgement. We have realized that when we bring our “weird” things out we can actually improve the space, improve the togetherness, improve understanding, improve gender choices, improve unconditional love among the human race. When we celebrate others those things are increased around us. We all want peace, safe space, togetherness, understanding, and unconditional love…..right? So the next time you hesitate with that so called “weird” thing remember you are likely depriving us all of your bright new light on something. So wear the dress, wear the bow tie, wear that silly shirt, wear the make-up, and don’t be afraid to purrrr outloud. Call me at 1-888-INGENIO Ext. 05051094