I’ve been debating on how to make this post for months.

Pandemic Isolation

The pandemic, lockdown, social distancing recommendations, and social unrest due to inequality have taken its toll on individuals, families, communities, and the world.  There’s been a greater distance between people politically as well as increased barriers such as social distancing and wearing masks.  Community events such as concerts and pride day events have been canceled and clubs shut down.

Increased Social Injustice and Violence

Not only is there increased fear of catching the novel coronavirus, but also a distrust between those concerned with their personal liberties and those crying out against social injustices.  These people include the appalling number of deaths this year from hate crimes against transgender and black transgender individuals.

The Importance of Pride Events

Pride Day events, pride month, and coming out day are such important times for the LGBTQ community to be able to wave their proverbial, or literal, flag.  We get to be among other people in a supportive environment of joy.  This year was lonelier.  Clubs gave the same environment with events such as drag shows and pride night.  Community is such an important factor for those brave enough to be themselves in a world that is not always so supportive, to say the least.

But I’m lucky that I have friends and loved ones in my life who are very supportive of my identity and my sexuality.  I also have the privilege of being a white, feminine presenting non-binary identifying person.  I prefer they/them pronouns but I don’t make an issue of it for the most part.  This is the privilege I’m recognizing that I don’t have to rock the boat at work or places where I don’t want to deal with the negative impact of judgment or discrimination.

Effects on Gender Expression and Body Image

The most unsettling part of lockdown for me was going without frequent haircuts between March and September.  At work, I started getting comments like, “your hair is getting so long!  You look so pretty!”  To me, it was code for, “You look so cis-hetero.”  Cringe.    I started to see some softer, feminized version of myself in the mirror as I tried to manage my hair.  It started to look more and more like the hair I had in the mid-nineties when I was in high school and was still struggling with whether or not I wanted to be “normal.”  I didn’t want to take pictures of myself and I didn’t feel like myself.

And that’s the rub, isn’t it?  Expression and community are so important to identity.  It affects self-esteem and body image in an effort to be true to who we are, on the inside.

What’s your Experience?

What was the biggest challenge for you this year with your identity?  I’d love to hear from you.

Beyond just LGBTQ Friendly

Considering therapy and want someone who isn’t just LGBTQ friendly but someone who walks outside the binary?  Learn more about my work with gender here, or feel free to contact me and see if I might be the therapist you’re looking for with a https://columbusarttherapy.com/contact-columbus-art-therapist/free consultation.