I am a Latino man. I am a disabled man. I am a gay man. I am a femme man.
I am a man even if the rest of the world does not think of me as one.
In a society where gender norms and roles are highly enforced (even in the most progressive areas of America and in the LGBTQ community) I find myself constantly having to defend, proclaim, and assert my manhood.
As a gender nonconforming cisgender man who is comfortable wearing heels, make up, and pieces of clothing that have been gendered “women’s clothing”, my femininity and my authenticity makes a lot of people uncomfortable.
So today on National Coming Out Day, I wanted to say this:
I am a man and my manhood will not exist within this hyper masculine, sexist, transphobic, misogynist, and emotionless idea of what a man should be like. I will not conform because conformity is the biggest threat to self-expression and change.
My manhood is defined as the following: a human being who is compassionate, caring, empathetic, driven, aggressive, educated, funny, dramatic, artistic, and aware.
To the gay men who remind me that my “femmeness” makes me less desirable or attractive, you’re missing out. You can hide behind the “preference” shield but deep down we know that your disgust of me is rooted in the patriarchal condition in which you were raised.
To the women who think they are giving me compliments by telling me that I look better in make-up or in heels than you do, that is not the kind of compliment I want. I don’t think it is healthy to compare our beauty to anyone else’s. You and I can both be beautiful and comfortable in our femininity.
To the straight men who think they are proving themselves by bashing me, you’re pathetic. Your real issue is that you might have mistaken me for a woman and found me attractive, maybe even aroused by me. I think gender and sexuality are fluid so I don’t blame you for finding me attractive. You get violent because my femininity cannot be sexualized by you without jeopardizing your heterosexual manhood and the privilege it grants you. That while society gives you the misguided understanding that femininity is weakness and something to be controlled, you cannot control me, my fellow femmes and I are not weak.
To the parents who struggle with their gender nonconforming children, we have enough strangers attacking us, we need our parents to love and embrace the fact that this is who we are. Be the beacon of hope for your child; remind them that goodness still exists in a world that often spews out hatred.
To my fellow gender nonconforming people, continue to embrace every aspect of who you are and never stop living your truth.
My name is Mark and I am a proud gay femme man.