True Colors | atmosphere

It’s Pride Month, which means it’s time for us to celebrate all things queer ecology – a subject that combines queer theory with elements of ecological study, seeking to reweave our cultural tapestries of identity. This is a subject that fascinates me personally. As I pointed out in my sex and gender newsletter a few months ago, nature and biology have historically been weaponized against queer and trans people, and still are. This week, we take a closer look at what homosexuality and nature have in common, and what it has to do with pride.

I often wonder if humans are the only species capable of denying our own nature. Do animals sometimes hide who they are? Do flowers sometimes refuse to bloom? Do mushrooms ever give up on their own deployment? The argument that queer and trans people are unnatural isn’t just wrong, it’s completely backwards. At the heart of nature and homosexuality is an innate and indelible sense of authenticity – a loyalty to self that cannot be denied even by the strongest efforts at cultural control and societal conformity.

When I was a child, nothing came more naturally to me than femininity. There was no separation between me and my own nature – I knew exactly who I was. But that knowledge was conditioned on me, forced to adapt an identity that was entirely foreign to me. Coming out, transitioning, these are phrases we use to describe the process of coming back to yourself and reconnecting with who you were before someone told you you had to be someone else. .

My transition has been inseparably linked to Nature. The first time I accepted my femininity as an adult was working with psilocybin mushrooms. I was sitting on a beach, watching the waves sway and the trees caressing them, and I felt connected to this world in a way I never had before. I saw her power and her beauty, and how much she suffered. And for the first time, I felt the same within me. I felt the weight of a life of repression – and it was then and there that I decided I could no longer deny who I was.

I spent years unlearning everything I was taught, letting go of everything that wasn’t me. It was a process of personal renaturalization; the more I embody my truth, the more I realize how much my life has been spent acting in ways that were completely unnatural to me. And while there was heartbreak in that discovery, it was nothing compared to the joy that followed – the pride I feel in expressing myself authentically to the world. I think that’s what pride is: authentic awareness and expression of our unique being.

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about pride without addressing its antithesis: shame, a cultural tool used to make people conform by instilling in them the belief that they are evil. Shame creates dissociation, a kind of inner distance that prevents us from seeing ourselves clearly, our vision distorted by the opinions of others. We’ve already covered an example of this, the narrative that queer and trans people are unnatural. It separates us not only from ourselves, but from the rest of the Earth, despite the fact that we are creatures of it like everyone else.

The journey we take to come back to ourselves is part of the queer and trans experience – and it’s a journey we must continually embark on when we live in a world that tries to erase us. It’s not that different from the journey our species has to embark on, the journey of remembering that we really belong in this world. To be queer and trans is to be unabashedly and genuinely true, free from the insidious shame of societal norms that have been ingrained in us. To be proud is to show our true colors. What could be more natural than that?

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