I understand that treasure of being able to have that freedom to let go of those old labels, and going through a transformation when I had to let go of a lot of labels that were holding me in a place that made me miserable. I didn’t feel it was easy, I don’t know how you felt? Like, it was a struggle? Or if it was something you just had to work at?...
Well, I mean the...between coming out as not straight...as queer...and going through a bunch of labels there to coming out about three years ago as gender queer...there’s nearly a decade in there. I was out as a queer person for nearly a decade before I realised I had-I mean, I sort of knew. I mean, like a lot of people say. But I had wrapped it up in my sexual orientation because there’s room in the lesbian community for male presentation, for butchness and all these sorts of things. There’s a lot of butch women who will come up to me and say, “Ah, just-you’re a butch woman. That’s cool.” You know? It’s like, “Yeah...that’s cool for you, and that label works for you...but that’s not actually my experience.” I don’t feel like I’m a butch presenting woman. Although, I sometimes do find comfort collecting in communities of women; I also find comfort in collecting in communities of men in a lot of ways too. And trans men, in particular. Because there’s parts of my experience and struggle that only they seem to understand. So I see myself in having these different chapters and different parts of myself in these different communities. I think the hardest part for me was realising that I wasn’t done. That coming out as one label or one identity wasn’t the complete package and I don’t know that the picture’s complete now. Fortunately, now I’m using labels that give a lot of breath and room. They’re an acceptance of my exploration and fluidity and queerness, etc., but I honestly can’t say what my presentation might be four or five years from now. I do have plans to change my appearance, my physical appearance to make myself more comfortable in my body and that will change how the world sees me in some ways. It’s nice to have that flexibility in the current labels...but I’m not finished. That’s something that people don’t understand a lot about transition or coming to understand yourself as non-binary. It’s not like you’ve got a set map of things to do and you got to check off every part of the journey and then you’re done and you’ve arrived! No, in fact-even cisgender people are still-they’re still are still sorting in and checking in. You think that women now are the same as women were fifty years ago? They’re not, they’re not. They’re constantly checking in with the media and other women and their culture and society of what’s the right thing and wrong thing to do as a modern progressive woman today. Whatever kind of woman they think they want to be, they’re comparing and contrasting themselves to others they perceive as women; we’re all sort of doing that, it’s just that I have less...I’m more on a ‘Make your own adventure’ sort of path than a lot of them are. I don’t have as many points of comparison. Which in some ways is easier for me, but certainly not as easy as something handed to me and being able to just swallow it.
Please make sure to visit Ren at ze's website: