Tuesday, June 4, 2019

“To Thine Own Self Be True” – Pride Month, Supergirl, Transgender Representation, and Neurodiversity Pride (Oh My!)

Hey all you out there in internet land! As you’re no doubt aware, June is Gay Pride Month, and as such, yours truly wanted to share something that really inspired me in pop culture recently – a certain...er...super powerful moment that occurred on the CW’s hit series ‘Supergirl.’ The adventures of Kara Danvers have been excellent all year, with a story focussing on bigotry and institutionalized oppression at a time when such a message desperately needs to be heard. Of particular note, however, is one of the new characters they brought in – a spunky heroine who goes by ‘Dreamer.’ Born with the given name Nia Nal, Dreamer is a superhero whose power is derived from being able to use dreams to predict future events and gain insights, among other abilities. She is strong, kind, compassionate, caring, and also perhaps most importantly, different. You see, in addition to being half-human and half-alien at a time in the series where anti-alien prejudice is in full swing, Nia is also transgender, and both admits to having struggled because of it, and to it being a source of pride and strength for her. Indeed, she is informed by it, shaped by its challenges and gifts in equal measure, and also more than the circumstances of her birth (Mewtwo from Pokemon would be proud).

Needless to say, as someone with similar experiences (albeit as a spectrum dweller rather than a member of the trans community)? I was extremely inspired. Especially after she delivered a rousing and passionate speech defending differences between people and encouraging everyone to speak their truths. I’ve reprinted it below:

“My parents believed that humans and aliens could co-exist. And I'm living proof of that. But growing up wasn't easy. I am also a trans woman. I'm different, Miss Danvers, but so is everybody. And I don't know when that became such a bad thing. The greatest gift we can give each other is our authentic selves and sharing that. Sharing our truth is what will make us strong. So, here I am. I am both human and alien. And I am a trans woman. S'mores are my favorite dessert. But I will always choose salty over sweet. I broke my nose when I was 15 during a game of kickball. My mother was my heart. And since I lost her, it's felt like a piece of me is missing. But my father is my spine. I'm a Gryffindor. Uh, my Patronus is a Dapple Grey Stallion. I am an INFP. House Stark. I love Thursdays and April. And nerdy boys who think too much. And I am proud of all that I am.”

This moved me in a way I can’t even describe. All of us who are different have at one time or another experienced exactly what Dreamer described, and so I’ve decided to take her up on her challenge and speak my own truth through an adaptation of her speech for my own lived reality. Because speaking our truths is important:

I'm a child of a divorced home. I've struggled with that in one form or another my whole life. I've felt pangs of anger at my parents, resented things not going as they were 'supposed to', and sensed the awkwardness as my step mom, mom, and dad sat around the same dinner table at events like my Confirmation (since my family is Catholic). I always felt as though I was being torn between two worlds...and you couldn't cut the tension with a knife! But growing up was difficult for me on an additional level too - I am also an Aspie. A person with Asperger's Disorder. A spectrum dweller. Autistic...with probable (though unofficial) ADHD. I'm different...but so is everybody. When did that become such a bad thing? After all, the greatest, most wonderful gift any of us can give each other is that of our true, authentic selves. Our truths - unfiltered, unsanitized, uncompromising. So here I am - a kid from a divorced family, an Aspie, an ADD-er. Human. Pizza is one of my favourite foods. I love science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular. I'm an all around nerd and an introvert, but I love being around my chosen friend family...if only for defined periods. When I was 14, I almost got suspended from school for standing up for myself against my bully, and later when I was in Grade 12, I led our school newspaper on strike for freedom of the press after we got censored by the principal. My Nona Olga and Aunt Judy were two of the dearest women to me in life, and I strive to live according to the values of honesty, compassion, tolerance, and love that they taught me. I'm an optimist. A lover, not a fighter...though I can certainly be fierce and outspoken when I need to be. My step mom and birth mother are the ones who instilled in me that sense of resilience and courage though, and my gentle, wonderful father taught me how to be a good man. I'm a Gryffindor at heart, and if I were to be any animal, it would be a Golden Retriever, because while I love cats, I identify with dogs. I am an INFP. Vulcan follower of the V'Tosh Katur path. Jedi Knight. I live for lazy rainy Saturday mornings, and I'm a big fan of nerdy girls with glasses. And most importantly? I am proud of all that I am. I wouldn't be me without any of it.

We all need to speak our truths and be true to them. Otherwise, the world will never change for the better.

Thank you, Dreamer, for inspiring me to continue speaking mine.

Happy Pride everyone!

Yours in diversity,

Adam Michael

1 comment:

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