Nathan is a 24 year old trans* masculine identified individual working towards finding equality for trans* youth during this transformative time. Nathan's talk is inspired through his own struggles of comfortability while out in public.
Q) What does fearlessness mean to you?
It’s radical for trans* folks to be alive. To be trans* inherently means you have to be fearless because we live in a world that disproportionately marginalizes trans* individuals. We have higher suicide rates, higher addiction rates, and higher homelessness rates. Being trans* or gender non-conforming means you are fearless because you are alive, you have survived. I was born female, and I currently identify as trans-masculine.
“Fearlessness means a lot of things, and is often as simple as folks doing what they need to in order to exist.”
Q) Your desire to implement change might appear as an impossible task to others. It seems you have made this decision with mindful intention. Tells us about this journey.
Being out and living as a trans* individual for 2.5 years, I realized quickly how anxiety-provoking and dangerous bathrooms can and have been for me. As I became more involved in the trans* and queer community, I realized the “bathroom problem” is beyond just my own experiences and touches all trans*and gender non-conforming individuals.
In the media, the issue of trans* folks accessing a bathroom has become a huge topic and we are starting to see some traction on it. Identity issues have really hit a critical point within the last couple of years. What we are witnessing is a pivotal point in history, and I decided that I wanted to be part of the positive change.
During my journey, I felt as though the majority of the world feels uncomfortable and afraid of using bathrooms with trans* individuals because of the myths that exist surrounding trans* folks. It was then that I realized that I am fortunate. I am a trans* person but I am also white, middle class and masculine which has given me a great deal of privilege. I decided to use this privilege to work towards helping those trans* individuals who don’t have the same privileges as I do, and to implement the change we desperately need.
Q) What has been your most fearful moment today and how did it impact you?
For me, one of the most vulnerable positions I have recently been in occurred in Vancouver on Granville Street. I was out one night with a group of friends, and I asked a friend to use the washroom with me, something that I often do because trans* folks are frequently harassed in washrooms. I went into the male washroom (with my female friend) to use the bathroom and the cis men (cis means people who identity with the gender they were assigned at birth based on their genitals) in the washroom began yelling at us (as trans-masculine, Nathan prefers the male washroom). They even went as far as following us out into the club while continuing to berate us. Luckily for me, and my friend, this incident did not turn into physical abuse.
This was the turning point for me. Fear made me realize that everyone should be allowed to partake in the most basic human activities such as using the washroom, and we should be able to do so comfortably. Fear has encouraged me to bring an uncomfortable issue for the trans* and non-transgender communities forward.
Posted By: Nicole Parmar
Photo Credit: Suzanne Rushton Photography