In our first blog post for 2017 we hear from Beckham Ronagham. In this blog piece, Beckham candidly discusses the process of transitioning while at Queen’s University. Through poetry, Beckham explores the many emotions involved in their own transition.
During 2010-2012, my third and fourth year at Queen’s University, I came out as transgender and transitioned to living in a male gender role. While in my heart, I identified as genderqueer and with gender-neutral pronouns.
I found the culture of masculinity at Queen’s toxic and challenging. I conformed to certain expressions of masculinity I did not identify with. I dressed in a particular way in order to be perceived as male. Meanwhile, I dressed in sequins, bright colours, and flashy fabrics, behind closed doors and in safer spaces. Only to those closest to me did I share my authentic gender queering self. I wrote this poem in 2012, it explores my journey towards finding my genuine self…
Open Minded Ignorance
I walk the line.
In some spaces one,
In some spaces the other or both or a mix of everything.
Constantly navigating this abyss of discovery, danger, instability and unknown.
Fielding questions, glances, glares and stares.
Sometimes physical eviction from spaces I thought I could access.
A security guard arm on my shoulder,
Of the “wrong bathroom”
barred from going on a field trip because my gender does not match my
these are the visible bars on my invisible cage
governing my life
restricting my mobility, access and expression
Where I just want to be seen
and not seen through
but not spectated
I did not choose this,
I came to this on my life path.
This is NOT an alternative lifestyle for you to inquire about and then move on with your day
One professor remarks “its a difficult path Beck has chosen”
And another professor in my defence “No, its a difficult path that has chosen Beck”
This is MY life.
This is my everyday.
I go by Beck.
I go by he or they.
A simple question would have given you this answer
I am not a woman or a man,
I am a trans guy,
a B-O-I anomaly boi.
I may not fit your stereotype of masculinity,
But I fit my own.
I am not asking for your pity.
I may ask for an open ear,
for you to acknowledge your privilege.
I am Beck,
I love who I am.
And I would appreciate
an effort for you to recognize
and take some time to see where I am coming from.
Because I do that for you.
This poem comes from places of pain, resilience, and beauty, which propelled my ongoing journey of self-discovery. Once I left Queen’s University I went through the motions of transitioning and came to discover more about myself and feel at home in my own body.
I owe much of this process of discovery to my partners, chosen family, and communities that took me into their hearts and showed me love, safety, and care. We are often told we need to love ourselves before we can come to love anyone else. I came to see myself as desirable, deserving of love and community, through the eyes of others and having access to safer spaces where my identity was celebrated. In addition to simultaneously working on my relationship with myself through accessing therapy and journaling.
I am only able to be the person I am today because of the support from my communities. And due to the trans elders who have come before me. Many of whom are trans women of colour, who existed, pushed, and paved the way for the present day lived realities of LGBTQ+ folks across Turtle Island (North America). As a white middleclass transmasculine person who has employment and other privileges my reality is radically different from many other trans folks realities. I work to educate and change the lived realities of trans youth in a small region in Ontario. I hope that this blog post promotes discussion and reflection to those that engage with it. Please listen to, support, validate, and show up for those trans folks in your lives.