Guest Post: "Clarity"

Hello! Before the essay begins - happy Trans Visibility Day! This is a letter from a dear friend of mine. At their request, this post is anonymous.  Please respect their wishes and do not ask who wrote the post.

While being able to come out and be visible is a privilege that not all of us under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella have, due to safety or personal reasons - I wanted to grant my friend some visibility today. Thank you again for sharing your story.

(Photo of Firewalker, taken by Zeltzin Vazquez)

The story of my first hardcore show and how I became involved with the scene is probably very familiar to most people reading this. I was a young, frustrated social outcast without many friends, when either serendipity or fate introduced me to someone a lot like myself who brought me to my first show. I was introduced to something I didn’t think existed, but desperately needed. Hardcore immediately became more than an outlet for me - it was my identity. It was my lifestyle. I began to gear my entire life around
it. And, like many other people, it felt like an escape, a place to disappear from school, my parents, and most importantly, myself.

Something that I knew innately about myself, but at that time completely refused to acknowledge, is that I am a trans woman. During my childhood I had wished that I was a girl, but I didn’t have a concept that would be possible to do anything about it. What I did understand was that having these feelings was something that I should not express, and that doing so would be shameful and humiliating for both myself and my parents.

As I got to the beginning of high school, these feelings became a source of stress and anxiety that could lie dormant for months at a time before swelling and dominating the front of my mind, for periods that were both painful and terrifying. I was always afraid that somebody could figure it out, that I could be exposed. This was coupled with a yearning for the people around me to learn the truth. I lived under a facade that was painful to maintain. I don’t enjoy pretending or hiding. It hurt me to lie to other people and it hurt me to lie to myself. This combination made me bitter, resentful and angry as a kid. Hardcore gave me more than just an outlet for these feelings, it gave me a place where I could be accepted as that person. Being in a place where I felt like I could be understood rather than questioned is a luxury I don’t think many fifteen year-olds were fortunate enough to have.

“For twenty precious minutes, there was no mask, no fear and no front.”

Something incredible would happen back then when I would go to a show. Amongst the stage-divers landing on each other’s heads, massive pile-ons that would topple to the floor, and nonstop moshing, amongst the chaos, catharsis and raw energy. I would feel soaring, nauseating moments of clarity. For twenty precious minutes, there was no mask, no fear and no front. Only what was directly in front of me, a room full of people lost in something bigger than themselves and a chance for me to be lost with them. I’ve never felt more like myself than at the bottom of a pile of bodies, screaming the same words with the same desperation.

A lot of time has passed since then. I’ve made a lot of progress towards accepting myself. When I was younger, I always hoped that the truth of who I am would go away when I got older. It hasn’t, and it won’t. When I was 21,  I came out to someone for the first time. Maybe someday I’ll come out to the whole world. I really hope I can. Until then, I’ll have twenty minutes every couple weeks. And I can’t tell any of the bands, the promoters, or anyone else who just shows up to make it possible how thankful I am to have them.


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