“It’s like I need permission to exist authentically”
I’m non-binary now, but when I identified as a gay woman and was in my first relationship as a TEENAGER men would film us being affectionate, watch us from bushes as we kissed. I’ve also had many men follow me home to ask me about my gender or harass me for it. One man followed me in his car for ten minutes before I waited in a convenience store to lose him. The constant surveillance and corrective enforcement of gender from straight people sometimes makes me feel like all these separate parts of me have to be compartmentalised and only expressed when told it’s okay – like I need permission to exist authentically.