Crossposted on Pam's House Blend
It's no secret to those that know me that I'm a tad obsessed with purple. I own a lot of purple clothing, a fair chunk of my digital art is purple, and I've had my hair dyed purple more than once.
What very few people know is why. And since a well-meaning campaign has declared today Spirit Day and encouraging people to wear purple to raise awareness of teenage GLBT suicides, now seems as good a time as any to tell you all why.
I've seen several examples today on Twitter alone of trans youth being ignored, ungendered, or lumped in unfairly with gay youth and ignoring the different struggles they face. I know gay kids go through a lot of bullshit, yes, but Trans kids have several completely different struggles on top of those, so before I begin, let me remind you, honor EVERY kid in turmoil today. Do NOT gayjack or ungender trans kids by lumping everyone together as if one universal solution will fix everyone's problems.
When I was young, my femininity was not exactly subtle. I knew at age 3 something was wrong. I knew I was supposed to be a girl. I didn't know I actually WAS a girl surgically jiggered at birth. But I knew I was supposed to BE a girl. And every time I expressed femininity I got beaten up.
If I asked to see a Barbie doll at recess, I got beat up.
If I didn't want to join in at sports or play War or Tackle Tag, I got beat up.
If I said I actually liked cooking my own breakfast, I got beat up.
Anything I expressed interest in that the boys saw as even bordering on stereotypically girly, I got beat up.
I ended up suspended from Grade 3 for a week because I admitted to liking Jem and the Holograms, and when the teacher pulled the bullies off of me and said I should expect to get beat up if I was going to be a sissy and not like GI Joe instead, I told him to go fuck himself. I got beat up and yet it was ME who got suspended, because I stood up to a teacher reinforcing stereotypes and condoning the bullying.
When I started to grow breasts, I got beat up.
When I tried to resist my rapists in Juvey, I got beat up.
And every time I got beat up, I waited til the next day. And the next day, when the bruises formed, I saw my only friend, Purple.
Purple, who appeared on my skin to remind me I was different and had to fight to survive.
Purple, who reassured me I had survived another hate fuelled beating.
Purple, who told me I was still alive, that they hadn't broken me.
I love purple. Purple tells me I'm alive. That I'm strong enough to survive the abuse. Purple tells me I'm allowed to be me.
I admire the girl who came up with the idea of a Spirit Day. It's a noble thought, even if some idiots are already distorting her noble idea to ungender trans kids. I wish there were less such idiots and more kids like Brittany McMillan who want to do something positive.
But I'm purple every day of my life. And so should all of us be. Every day should be a day we talk about and support young GLBT folks. ALL of them.
I love purple.