For this year’s pride month, Socksmith reached out to strong voices and allies in the LGBTQ+ community to share their stories. This week we spoke to Addison (they/them), and Lace (they/them) about the fluidity of gender.
Both of you define yourselves as being beyond the binary, what does this (and pride) mean to you?
Lace: To me, pride is more than being proud of gender identity/sexuality. To me pride is continuing the fight that those before us started and doing the work to pave the way for our children and the next generations to come. Non-binary defined in my own words: living outside of the two boxes that have been forced upon us for our entire lives.
Addison: Pride to me means owning your identity and expressing yourself unapologetically! Queer to me means being anything but exclusively straight.
Addison Rose Vincent (they/them)
When was it that you felt constrained by the man/woman binary?
Lace: I knew I was gay in high school, but I am from a very conservative area, so I came out in college. I started to discover my gender identity a few years later. I always felt different and uncomfortable presenting as female but didn’t have the vocabulary or knowledge to make the connection when I was younger. Looking back, I have never been straight, and I’ve never been female. I have always been exactly who I am now, I’m just brave and educated enough to be loud about it now.
Addison: I began to recognize my true self when I stopped letting shame control my thoughts and actions. When I was able to give myself permission to be at different stages in my life, I was able to finally see myself reflected in the mirror.
What would you say to your younger self, or to someone in your same shoes?
Lace: Find a community, whether local or on the internet. Most of my community is through social media because our area is still very conservative. Secondly, stop worrying about what others think about you. It took me so long to be myself because I was constantly worried about what my parents, siblings, and community would think. But it is not about them, it’s about YOU. You deserve to be yourself.
Addison: If you are struggling to come out or speak your truth, know that there's no rush! Find local resources and advocates to build connections with, and in time - when you feel ready and safe to do so – you will find the words to express who you are.
What is the easiest thing aspiring allies can do?
Lace: Ask questions, read books, educate yourself, advocate for the community, and shut down hate when it is present. Gender and sexuality are constantly changing, so the learning should never stop.
Addison: An easy thing aspiring allies can learn to do is use and respect gender pronouns! Use your own pronouns in daily introductions, email signatures, and on your social media platforms. They help create a more inclusive and empowering space for everyone!
Resources for trans and queer youth: