Abomination: Something hated, or found disgusting. A feeling of hatred towards…
Every time I write or hear the word it makes me cringe. A word I’ve not typically used directed towards people outside of the LGBTQ community, but most definitely a word placed on me early on, that significantly and dramatically helped compose the decomposition of my confidence and self regard. It brought with it feelings of being a mistake, ugly, disgusting, and probably most hurtful of all, not eligible for my creator’s love and grace.
I’m 37 years old in a few months. People in my amage bracket have seen a shift in the acknowledgement of transgender people. Far from acceptance, and still not full acknowledgement but still a slite [sic] shift as compared to the years of adolescence. For sure, still today, if a trans boy or girl did what I’m about to tell you I have done, they’d end up with similar results. Most definitely they’d face opposition. But the story I’m about to share was in 1993 or 1994. I was still of an innocent mind. I was simply being me, who I am. Nothing more, nothing less. And I was told the who I was in the eyes of God was an abomination.
It’s hot. Like July or something. My dad actually is letting me go to my best friend’s church tonight for youth group. And he’s at work til late so I feel even freer than usual. Shawntell, my B.F.F., has been my besty since kindergarten. Despite all the chaos of my childhood, she embraced me and loved me when it seemed like no one else did. She understood me when I was unable to understand myself. And since I was forbidden to ever wear girls’ clothing again, by the evil dictator I called dad, she was my safe house where I could dress up and be me as free as ever. This particular evening, as we walk the block it takes to get to her church, I have on a pair of Shawntell’s super cute Nike soccer shorts (pink), and a matching pink and black Nike shirt. We’re holding hands as we walk up to the club-house style building, where the youth group is held. As we approach, I release her hand and grab the lipstick out of my bookbag and apply it.
We walk in and automatically I know this to be another one of my not well thought out ideas. The other kids are brutal. The youth minister makes me and Shawntell go outside as he calms the teens. He comes out with a gray pair of sweatpants (in July!) and asks me (or tells more like) to put them on. And I go in with a tear streaked face and listen to a message indirectly so directly pointed at me about homosexuality as a sin and how the perpetrators of such sexual deviance are abominations in the eyes of God.
I end up in Ohio’s juvenile prison system in 1997 at the age of 15. For reasons forthrightly attributed to trans/homo phobia, I wasn’t released until I was half way through 18 years old.I lost count at how many times I’ve been referred to as an abomination. But because the abuses, and assaults, and discriminations, and violence, I was able to recognize that out of it all spring forth the word that truly identifies me as not only a woman, or a transgender, but also as a transgender woman brought up in a violent prison complex… Irrepressible….
Irrepressible: Not able to be restrained or held down.
This is the word that we can use to replace all the stereotypical, self righteous, negative terms used and meant to define us as women, minorities, and anything else the powers that be choose to ostracize and oppress.
With the word irrepressible I feel not like a mistake. I feel empowered, resilient, strengthened, liberated, unshackled. It makes me not fear the opposition. It makes me feel like a martyr for a cause. It allows me to be humble and feel empathy for others who struggle with hostility or rejection or discrimination no matter if it’s for race, gender, religion, or whatever. I feel their pain. It makes me want to protect the trans women who come next. Fight for them even more than for myself. I’m irrepressible. That’s what I am.
Submitted May, 2018