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#MySexMyWay - Rio#MySexMyWay - Rio

Scratching the surface, I am Black, Visayan, Neurodivergent, Disabled, Transgender, Non-Binary, Pan/Bisexual, Aromantic, a Responsible Non-Monogamist, Relationship Anarchist and Sexual Freedom Advocate.

All these intersections draw together many of the aspects that contribute to my being. However, the self that I am able to present to the world today is very far removed from every version of myself that once stood in my place. As much as we are one and the same. I no longer live in fear of who I am, what I am. Despite and in spite of how much white supremacy works to destroy people like me. The euphoria and wider understanding I have achieved for myself whilst deconstructing my internalised ‘phobias’ and ‘-isms; the uncovering of words and definitions that have endured many attempts to be erased from history, that have gifted me with an arsenal of vocabulary that allows me to place my lived experiences within contexts are all a cultivation of pure self-discovery and a desire to fill in the gaps that a colonial education purposefully evades. The pride I wear alongside these identifiers is not an implication that I am wholly enlightened, but that I am still on the lifelong journey towards full self-acceptance and awareness. An ode to the research that I have done. All of this can also be applied to how I now navigate sex - from an open perspective of decolonisation.

School’s sex education was limited, it gave room to stigmatise sexual activity, gender and sexuality that wasn't cis-heteronormative. On top of receiving a lot of this from a ‘single-sex’ secondary school, the lens they provided to view these issues with was extremely tainted. 
The internet and many online communities introduced me to the wider world of sex and sexuality. I received peer education, and self-educated. Although it wasn’t until I found myself physically amongst other trans, nonbinary and gender non-conforming bodies that I was able to truly contextualise what I had learned and let go of the binary limitations I placed on myself. I stopped trying to hide the parts of me that were overtly visible, showered them with love and let it filter into the areas that felt out of reach. This slow trickling process means that in years to come I will finally be able to tend to the parts of me that might not be able to feel love currently.

I have always had a complicated relationship with sex and the fact that I've never seemed to have true autonomy over my body. Whether it’s because of my own limitations, or from the confines that society forces upon us. I have always been strong willed and determined to not lose myself when it comes to engaging in sexual activity. To be bold in how I approach it, to not seem weak or inexperienced. Constantly attempting to exhibit a version of myself that was inauthentic in a desperate need for self-preservation and ultimately, survival. As the years have gone on and having experienced many kinds of violations of my consent, I have grown even more strong willed to move onto an even firmer foundation of empowerment. With full accommodation for the traumas I have faced in relation to my explorations of sex, sexuality, gender, race, disability, religion and faith.

As an oversexualised child and teen, I developed a distorted view of myself in relation to others. I was unable to create healthy relationships with peers and had constant instabilities there. Being Black and Asian also exposed me to degradation through oversexualisation and fetishization. Dating apps threw me into the deep end and showed me the darker side of dating. It hardened me and desensitized me to sadly inevitable encounters with trans fetishization, unsolicited images and interrogation. I learned very early on that being trans in a cis world, whether it be amongst straight people or gay people, would force me to have to fight hard to be treated normally without the constant lines of questions and consistently needing to bare my intimate information to a person before they would even consider continuing a conversation with me. In turn, this led me to respond to any seemingly un-sinister greeting with what genitalia I had, because I knew that if I brought it up later it usually derailed things. I am glad to say that those days are also behind me, since I’ve made sure to use apps that allow for more substance than superficiality, even though there are few that can truly accommodate me.

It was a few years into my transition, after feeling very isolated surrounded by cis people, that I encountered a circle of trans/nonbinary/gender non-conforming friends to confide in and exchange experiences with which was incredibly affirming for me. I am also very privileged to have received professional support in my own transition to allow me to navigate sex without dissociating from my body. Gender affirming processes like Hormone Replacement Therapy and surgery have given me a new lease of life in that sense. In my opinion the UK works hard to uproot, defile and destroy the work of already underfunded Gender Identity Clinics and any medical professionals who are willing to support us on this. I think this then deprives an astounding amount of young and older people alike of the lifesaving treatment that they deserve.

Exploring non-monogamy and relationship anarchy has also opened me up to pure hedonism, seeking optimum intimacy with flowing communication and an open space to express needs and boundaries. Learning that I was Autistic recently also provided me further insight into my likes, dislikes, and why I couldn’t tolerate certain things surrounding sex. Through it all I have taught myself the exceptional act of self-love, through harm reduction, trauma informing and in-depth communication.

I have learned that sex is so many things beyond simply a reproductive act between 'man and woman'. It is transformative, it is powerful, it is playful, it is a teacher, it is therapy, it is not required of me, of you. It can be funny and clumsy. But it is not to be taken lightly. All in all, it deserves tender attention to allow for all parties to receive something more than half-hearted satisfaction, or even dissatisfaction.

My advice to young LGBTQ+ people:

I think it is of most importance to remember that everything is fluid, and everything is on a spectrum. As you learn and grow how you view yourself, your perception of those around you will evolve too. Don’t get too caught up in trying to define yourself. Never feel as though once you have established your identity that you’re forced to stick with that even if your feelings change. You have the freedom to evolve and flow alongside your inner feelings. There is no truly definitive way in which you need to perform or express your identity, every individual experience is different and complex so simply existing and living your truth is entirely up to you to define.

Never be with a person who tries to make you compromise any part of your identity to suit them, a healthy love is one that uplifts and encourages you to be your most authentic self in all your variety. Whether you are cis-het or 2SLGBTQIA+, you should explore your sexuality to the fullest to get a better understanding of yourself. While exploring all these you may have a lot of people trying to tell you how to act or be, according to your sexuality, or make assumptions and it is best to try not to take that in. As again, it is your story to tell. It is a long, long road, you may never entirely rest upon an official ‘label’ for yourself, but allow yourself the freedom to jump into any and all experiences. ‘Labels’ simply provide the vocabulary for what we are experiencing, but it isn’t the ‘label’ that makes you 2SLGBTQIA+, it is your experience; however, it may lead.

You are not alone in your journey, at every step there is a community of people across the entire world like yourself also experiencing the same or similar and are eager to share knowledge and support. Never feel afraid to reach out to someone who seems like they can give you advice as for the most part, we all know what it was once like to have all these painfully unanswered questions and just want to help relieve others from that pain.