This week on Facebook, I put up a couple of posts about pictures I had taken for Les Fest, an event to celebrate lesbian, bisexual, pansexual women and the transgender population. I was asked about a month and a half ago if I would be willing to submit two pictures for the Les Fest gallery. When I agreed, I never expected things to go like they did. This project, which originally was just a project for me to create two pictures that would hopefully amaze myself and others with what I can do with the SL camera, became a deeply emotional and personal project that lead to me shedding many tears, heartfelt and emotional conversations with friends and contemplating many things about myself and the world around me.
Now, I have never really shared my sexual identity in my blog and honestly, most of my friends will tell you I don’t discuss that much at all. So why was I asked to be a part of Les Fest this year?
I was asked because I am a transgender woman.
This picture…one of the two pictures I submitted for Les Fest…is a representation of my daily reality. While I have begun transitioning, I am not yet living my life full time as a woman. Every time I look into a mirror…this is my reality as I pray to see a different face and body looking back at me. Its hard. Its emotional. Its raw. And this has been every day of my life as far back as I can remember. This photograph is probably one of the most emotionally raw photographs I have ever taken in SL.
Fortunately for me, SL has allowed me, for over 10 years now, to live my life as the woman I have always been inside.
When I started Blended Beauty, I had no intention of ever disclosing here that I was transitioning male to female. There were 100 different reasons I made that decision. However, as I worked on my photographs for Les Fest, I realized that by not including that information about myself with all of you, I was going to limit both my photography and my writing that goes with my posts. Blogging and photography, for me, are more about self expression and emotional processing… not notariety.
I also want to use my blog to educate and inform people about the difference between gender identity and sexual identity, along with supporting others who may be on a similar path as me. Transitioning genders to finally find emotional peace is not easy at times…but I know for me that it has been worth it so far, without a doubt.
For those of you who take the time to read my blog, I want to thank you. I hope you will continue to read. I believe if you do, you will find that I am not that different from you. And being honest like this, putting this out there, will keep me from feeling as though I have to censor myself when I write. Hopefully you will enjoy some of the stories I will share to go with the pictures I post.
As I close on this post, I want to extend a thank you to all of you who have supported me since I disclosed my transition a little more than a year ago. There have been so many of you and I wish I could name you all. You have not only helped me to feel accepted and loved, but you have also helped me to feel normal. That gift is so incredibly precious and is why I feel so blessed to call so many of you my friend.
Along with my friends, I would like to thank Les Fest for the honor of being asked to be a part of this amazing event. Through each of you, I have developed new friendships, found more support and just…I don’t know what to say other than thank you to all of you.
See it on Flickr!
Visit the Les Fest website to see all the information on this amazing event and for links to all of the events occurring there this weekend.