Being Your Beauty: Razz


31 years old

Conway, MA

I thought transness was like the binaried way we see it on television—of like, “oh, I’m trapped in the wrong body.” That didn’t resonate with me, which is why I didn’t identify as trans for a long time.

It wasn’t until my sibling said to me, “that’s only one type of being trans—trans just means you don’t identify with the gender or “sex” you were assigned at birth. We can use the same word, but it doesn’t always mean the same thing.

My gender identity is completely gender abolitionist—like, completely non-aligned to anything. My expression is different from my identity.

I remember the first time I saw someone on Instagram who was non-binary with top surgery. They had this luscious, long, beautiful hair; and a beautiful face—and then just really ripped abs and a chest. I was like yes, that’s a form of gender euphoria for me.

My top surgery was mostly for me, and I really sat with myself to make sure of that. Getting it just felt right. I hope that my being as free and open about myself as I am will create space for other people to be as well.

I just got a dream job as a co-guide for The Rusty Anvil, a platform for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to reconnect to nature. I discovered it through my friend Raei, who founded it. We go on what are called “BiPOC forest bathing immersions.” Many folx who join us tend to be queer.

Nature is always literally holding us. I want queer, trans, and People of Color to experience what it’s like to just exist in nature, and learn the skills that they may not otherwise have had access to.

So yeah, working for a queer trans Person of Color…I really couldn’t have a better job.

Surround yourself with community: nonjudgmental, loving, thoughtful community who will show up for you, and be brave with you.

Once you find the community that holds you, I think there’s that freedom to be who you are; and to be able to revel in that. If you don’t have one yet, you can build your own community. I, for example, created a queer Asian specific group for this area where I live. It’s called Queer Asians of Western Mass. I’ve hosted some events, like a camping trip. We’ve done potlucks, gone to the river together for picnics, had movie nights.

My community has held me through so much. I grew up in an abusive household, so my friends were like my family. They were my everything. I don’t think I would’ve made it very far if I didn’t have my friends and my community.

This book was given to me by a friend from my first forest bathing immersion. It’s very special. One of my favorite quotes is from Rivers Solomon, a Black non-binary author. It goes, “You can’t shift your paradigm with the same mentality that created it.”

We can’t bully people into being accountable. People have to want to be accountable and they have to feel like they’re in a safe enough space to take accountability.

People are really afraid of messing up, you know? All of us are afraid of messing up in one way or another. It helps to tell people that it’s okay to mess up. If you make a mistake, just correct yourself after. It’s a learning curve. Mistakes are okay as long as you’re compassionate and trying your best to be respectful. That’s kind of all that matters. Curiosity over assumption, I always say.

I guess my first coming out story is about my queerness in general. I mean, like all of my friends knew, but my parents didn’t know yet. I wasn’t too worried about my family knowing—one of my mom’s brothers is gay and she never expressed any like, weirdness around that. It just was what it was. And I think my stepfather had a lesbian aunt. I just wanted to come out on my own time. Like I wanted it to be an intentional conversation.

But when I was 16, I was having a birthday party at my house. My girlfriend Victoria was over and we were all playing spin the bottle upstairs. I guess my aunt had asked where I was and my cousin just said out loud “oh, Razz got into a fight with her girlfriend; so they’re upstairs dealing with that. He said it in front of the entire family. All of these adults in the living room, hanging out.

I remember being really upset with my cousin at the time. I think afterwards my mom said that she already knew, or it wasn’t a big deal, or something like that.

I think it just always felt important that it was my choice and that it was presented in a way that felt most true to me, you know?

I identify very strongly as a tender queerdo. I feel like tender queers have been getting a bad rap lately, but I’m like… I’m just tender; and I love it.

Weirdo just means weirdo. Tender means being a really open hearted and naturally affectionate person; and wanting to honor and share tenderness with others. Just being sweet and kind as a lifestyle. “Keeping our softness in a hard world” kind of thing.

Yeah, I love this. It’s a reminder to just be gentle with yourself. You’re still sprouting.

At some point, I realized: I don’t have to be in progress to get anywhere. I just need to be gentle with myself all the time. Not “be gentle with yourself because you’re still getting there.” You don’t need to always be in progress. So be gentle with yourself all the time, we should all be gentle with ourselves.

I think that’s part of my reparenting process and trauma healing. Being gentle and compassionate with myself without needing a reason to do it… just because.