As a new blog project idea I decided to allow LGBT individuals of all ages, background, races, religion and origin write their own blog post for my blog. I decided to do this as writing about my own story is getting extremely boring, and everybody’s story is different and unique so I want to highlight that. Here is Sapphire Crimson Claw’s story:
I remember it very clearly and I imagine that I always will: I was at my MSW internship and, with not enough to do, goofing off on Twitter. It hit me like a ton of bricks why I always could relate to trans people. It wasn’t “the underdog” or “the outcast”… I was trans myself. This put to rest the question mark I’ve always had in my mind.
Growing up, I was picked on, and even my family conceded that I was “different.” Part of this was due to my handicaps—I was either born with muscular developmental delays, or they resulted from a tumble down the stairs in foster care. At any rate, I had both fine and gross motor delays, meaning I couldn’t do small things (e.g. tying my shoes) and big things (e.g. walking upstairs by myself) without help. I also was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, a neurological condition that made me highly sensitive to touch, sight, sound. I had food habits that my family considered picky eating, but I now understand didn’t agree with my sensitivities. Certain textures, like cottage cheese, were a no-go for me. I’ve also come to understand that I have obsessive compulsive disorder, misophonia (an emotional response to sounds), and dermotillomania (compulsive skin picking). All of these, coupled with my aversion to all things feminine in favor of “boy interests,” such as Star Wars and Batman, made me one weird kid.
I was bullied mercilessly throughout grade school and middle school, until I developed depression and coped via self-harm. High school wasn’t much better, and I was finally taken for psychiatric help. Still, these troubles really weren’t completely resolved until graduate school, when, based off of the DSM-5, I diagnosed myself with OCD.
There was still that confusion inside my head, though; coming out as bisexual didn’t help it. Sure, I understood I was attracted to men and women (I lated revised this to pansexual), but not really who I was. People noticed. I was terribly self-conscious, had low self-esteem, and little self-confidence. I went into social work after flunking out of the occupational therapy program in college, and found my calling. Still, my professors worried about me. Post-graduation, one confided in me that she thought that my parents were abusive assholes. True, my family can be emotionally manipulative, distant, and are definitely not good at communicating, but they care. They welcomed my queerness, thinking that things like that were now done being divulged out into the open.
They were wrong.
So back to my internship: I was in the middle of getting my MSW, and had suddenly realized that my social awkwardness and confidence issues my whole life stemmed from my gender identity. My unresolved mystery; I never had felt male, but had never felt female, either. Twitter and Tumblr introduced me to non-binary genders. It seemed to fit. I began experimenting with labels.
Now, here I sit writing this down, at my first social work job at a New York State Veterans’ Home. (It’s the end of the day, they won’t mind.) I have reinvented myself as Sapphire Crimson Claw. This name was chosen as a symbol not only of being gender neutral, but being darkly femme, otherkin (I’m a shapeshifting demonic cat), and that it felt strong and fearless. After years of timidity, reticence, and feeling as if I didn’t have a voice, now I stand tall, steadfast, and roar. I have a book I’ve written on my journey (hopefully out sometime this spring or summer on Lulu.com) and regularly post vlogs to Youtube.
I went from a repressed, shy, unfeminine cis woman to a loud, proud, sexy, agender person who is very in touch with their feminine side (or, rather, femme side; I love makeup, especially green and blue).
The important thing I want to emphasize is that no one needs to really change their name or pronouns to be recognized as non-binary; I just did out of personal preference. I came out and felt transformed, and I am never going back. Maybe that’s not your thing; it’s perfectly up to you. Me, I love my new life, and while I’m undecided about transitioning, I still feel completely different. Or perhaps it’s feeling the same, only reassured, clarified, fulfilled. Either way, the old me is dead, Long Live Gothic Sapphire.