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I’m *hella* gay. And I mean that as both a gender and an orientation. I used to think of gender and orientation as completely disparate identities, but the longer I identify as nonbinary, the more I find that that’s just not…true for me? Like, my gayness is all wrapped up in being nonbinary, in that I experience my gender as yes plx gimme the genders. I just gay my way through life, and try to signal as hard as possible so no one is surprised. I use they/them pronouns, and still get thrown hard when someone I know fucks up my pronouns.

Other super important facets of my identity: I strive to be an intersectional feminist who is aware of issues facing more than just white women and afab people. I do user experience research for a living and love it. My body is meant to be in motion, whether that motion be dancing or climbing or cycling, and I love moving through space. I am a cat person. I am also a futon. I have generalized anxiety disorder and it blows big chunks. I participated in both The Girl Scouts and The Boy Scouts organizations and the GSA is so socially progressive it makes my heart sing and the BSA helped me break up with my evil ex, so I’ve a fondness for the organization despite its shitty policies.

The experience of being in my body when there’s music playing — I think that’s the only way I know how to be sexy. 11 years of social dance training as an adult and six years of the ballet-jazz-tap trifecta as a kid have left me confident in my ability to position and move my body. The sexiest I’ve felt in years was at the Steel City Blues Sunday Late Night party this year. I’d run upstairs and club-danced a couple of songs after my DJ set, and then come back down to the blues room feeling loose and ready to just move to blues dance. I wasn’t dancing for anyone else, and the DJ was masterfully keeping everyone partying. In those songs, I felt the opposite of dysphoria for the first time in a while: I felt gender euphoria - a complete and utter exhilaration at my own gender expression in that dance. I’m still chasing that feeling, three months later, trying to be myself in my dance so completely.

I’ve been working on self appreciation, so when it comes to what is the best thing about me, I won’t stop at one thing: my freckles, my soft round belly, my tattoos, my hair, and my booty. The feeling of muscles being activated and the soreness from working out hard. The way my eyes get all squinty when I’m really happy. The shape of my lips. The shape of my nose. The sensation of someone else’s body squishing into my squishy bits.

But, actually,I think this is my true favorite part of me: I form crushes very easily: oh, you’re cute and said a nice thing to me once and maybe also touched me? CRUSH. You’re a good friend who has listened to me talk on and on? CRUSH. You made me food? CRUSH. You invited me for ice cream? CRUSH. You smiled at me while dancing? CRUSH. You played board games with me? CRUSH. You went with me to see a band? CRUSH. You quietly sat with your partner and took care of them? OH GOSH CRUSH. All of the crushes in my life fill my heart with a little boost of love and excitement. My heart pounds seeing all of that love in the world, and it gives me the buoyancy to make it through the crushing realities of the transphobic garbage of the world. So, hey - thanks for being cute and in the world. <3