AlexGrey Valdez

IMG_9754.JPG

 

 

 

Born a month early and in need of being untangled from my umbilical cord, I was born a miracle baby in June. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and still live there to this day. Growing up, I was really sheltered from the outside world. My parents immigrated to this country from Bolivia in the late 80’s and spent all their money to send my sister and I to private Catholic elementary, middle, and high schools. My early years consisted of going to church way more often than I prefer to reflect on now, ugly uniforms, and feeling lost in crowds of people who never questioned that they were the slightest bit different. I knew something was up with my queerness when I was about eight and nothing made more sense in the world than when I joined a co-ed soccer team.

At a young age, I understood silence between pews and that I’d probably always be terrible at wearing huge plaid skirts and sitting in them. I knew I’d be treated different for the way my body moved and took up space. I was even more aware that how I came off to other people mattered in direct relation to how they treated me. So, I did what any dysphoric, confused, and scared kid would do, I hid. For a long time I hid in a gender I settled for. I almost convinced myself that it wasn’t a lie. When I think about how I felt as a kid playing girl, I like to describe it as if it were an extra limb. A phantom limb that I had convinced everyone was authentic. The first time I realized I had a body was when I was nine and it terrified me. Getting undressed, looking at myself in the mirror, and taking showers all proved too difficult to do. I felt so uncomfortable in my body that I would cry, begging my parents not to make me shower. It was almost like it hurt too much to be reminded that I exist in a body that doesn’t correlate with how I felt in my gender. It didn’t take long for kids to start teasing me about how I smelled. Getting bullied was tough but it made me a bad bitch because I learned to take heat and I also learned how to spit back. My nonbinary, emo ass stayed closeted all throughout high school. I realized some time in junior year that I had a crush on a lot of the girls I was friends with. But, no one except cisgender gay boys were out at my high school.

So, as soon as I graduated I came out as bisexual. I started college and met queer adults for the first time. Just a couple months later, a trusted gender fluid friend of mine did a spread of tarot cards for me. I think I remember asking the cards to tell me what I needed to do to keep moving forward and being my best self. Dani pulled the card of the Temptress, and asked me how I identified with my gender. I told them “demi-feminine” and they replied “you didn’t think about that much did you?” and I said no because it was the truth, I was realizing that my gender was queer and demigirl/boy just didn’t sound right to me. They then told me that the deck was saying that everything the Temptress represents is exactly what I will never be. That I was never going to be a woman and I was never going to look like what I assumed I’d wanted my AFAB body to look like. I was gagged to say the least, I went to the bathroom and cried. That was the beginning of my gender journey. I changed my pronouns, then my name, then my pronouns again, then my name again. I started hormones in September of 2017 and have grown considerably since I was 18.

Now, I proudly identify as a trans-masculine genderqueer femme. A soft nonbinary boy, if you will, with pansexual tendencies. I am much more comfortable in who I am because I’ve been blessed enough to have a community around me to remind me of how holy this trans experience is. My transness brought me closer to the andean indigenous culture that I descend from. It brought me more clarity in my thought processes and speech. Transitioning (medically and non-medically) helped heal my traumatized heart and soul. I learned that I wasn’t out of my mind all these years. That all those moments growing up thinking I was the weirdo and no one else felt like I did were absolutely valid. I love identifying how strange and fucked up gender is. It’s a funny, fickle friend. I use they/them/theirs pronouns and prefer if only transgender or gender non-conforming femmes used he/him/his pronouns in reference to me. It’s a comfort thing, because as much as I have some similarities with trans-masculine folks, it doesn’t make me a guy.

I’m a spoken word and slam poet who likes to wear shorts, bright colors, and hoops. The reclamation of my body, my sexuality, and my gender have been a large part of my life as an out and loud queer activist. If I could tell my six year old self one thing it’d be to not be afraid of the unknown, to relish in it, and to appreciate every second, even the ones that bring up intense emotions. I’d tell myself to try really hard not to be afraid of who I am, to live honestly, and to always be kind.”