“If I could only say one thing to the trans community in Colegio, it would be, "Do not be afraid, you are not alone. Believe it or not."” These are the words of eighteen year-old trans freshman, Lucifer.
As Lucifer tells the tale of how he came to understand and accept his gender, he highlights how most of his realizations had a lot to do with the resources he was exposed to. Like many of us, he’s an active internet user, and while he had already accepted the idea that he was attracted to girls, his gender dysphoria had been latent and gone unaddressed. Gender dysphoria is known as the conflict between a person’s assigned gender and the one they identify with, and while not all transgender people suffer from it, it’s a struggle most of them face constantly. It wasn’t until Lucifer was able to become familiar with terms such as, “trans” that he was able to understand how it applied to his life.
“I came out as gay when I was ten, and as trans when I was thirteen. Overall, my friends were supportive and even read-up on the subjects. My mother, however, was a different story,” he highlights as part of his coming out story. “I didn’t come out to my mom until about a year ago, and she took it rather dismissively. But now it seems she’s kinda understanding it.”
As Lucifer explains how being out to his friends was like an act of liberation and a way of self-acceptance, he also narrates how his mother misgenders him on purpose and strongly dislikes whenever he refers to himself as a male.
“She calls me her daughter all the time, so, I can’t say anything against that,” he says rather defeated, “with the rest of the people who I’m not out to, it’s mostly because they’re not very knowledgeable about what it is, or they say indirect homophobic comments.”
He also points out the effects of the constant rejection and misgendering at home, “I've grown so used to misgendering myself that it just doesn't hurt anymore. But I would still love for the day that I don't have to do it.”
It is precisely because of that sense of defeat that Lucifer feels the need to share his story. No trans person should ever feel isolated, afraid, or alone. Even though life is hard at home, he also delves into the perks of his experience inside the university.
“Being out on campus isn’t inherently hard. I just kind of am, and react to whatever people give me, but overall, they’re truly very accepting. Campus is another world, and it's welcoming in some aspects, especially when I went to Spectrum. I felt at home, in a way,” he mentioned, with a sense of relief. “Home isn’t exactly something I look forward to everyday.”
SpectRUM is UPRM’s very own LGBTQ+ student organization focused on creating safe-spaces for queer students and spreading awareness of the queer community on campus.
When asked about the greatest challenges he faces as a trans male, he specifically points out the struggle with his gender dysphoria.
“My gender dysphoria is something I try my best to ignore, but it’s something that can kill me slowly whenever it comes back. Every time I get an episode, it’s usually worse than the last,” he explains, “The way it manifests is hard to explain, at least, for me. It’s an overwhelming sense of anxiety, self hatred, depression, anger, sadness; everything you can imagine rolled into one. I suppose everyone has different ways of coping with it. I usually bottle it up, and try to search for things to calm me down like looking up for boxers, jockstraps, or just lay down and cry it out,” he elaborates, “I don’t really recommend that to anyone, though. It’s not exactly healthy.”
Because of the day-to-day challenges that Lucifer has had to face in order to simply “be” a person, he hopes to reach out to the queer community in the future and, specifically, be of help to the trans sector. “I’ve seen the lack of resources for people like me. I know that with my future preparation, and personal experience, I’ll be able to help them,” he remarks.
Lucifer is currently studying psychology and aspires to reach his doctorate with a focus on gender. For now, he’s just your regular psychology student in Colegio with an awful-lot on his plate. Regardless of the amount of work, he wants everyone to know that if you see him around campus, he’s always available to answer questions and/or clear up misconceptions about the trans community. He’s always happy to be of help, and never has a problem lending a hand (or ear) to anyone in need.
Pictures taken by: Alexandra J. Cruz Norat