By B.R Meston, published November 15, 2019
I have always been a person that asks many questions and challenge the status quo. As many of you know, I was born with a physical disability, namely cerebral palsy and severe chronic pain.
As I got older, I learned that disability is a social construct and that when a building is not physically accessible, it is a silent act of violence against me and all those who are a part of the disability community
. Today I appreciate this unique perspective as I do not believe I would be so angry about acts of injustice and the oppression of marginalized communities if I did not have the lived experience of growing up with a physical disability and seeing firsthand how society is so afraid of people who are different
As the years passed, I became comfortable with my identity and made it my life’s mission to give a voice to the voiceless. However, in grade 7, things began to change. I started to feel less and less comfortable in my own skin once again. At first, I could not figure out why. I asked myself, was it because of my disability? I quickly came to the realization that there was something more going on. I just did not know what the problem was.
Around the same time, I began to develop more masculine features. I always knew from a young age that I could never understand why boys were not allowed to wear nail polish and they could not show their emotions and getting down in the dirt was part of the fun of being a man.
All these memories came flooding back to me when I started thinking about why I all of a sudden did not feel comfortable in my own skin again. I was afraid to tell my friends what I was thinking as I was afraid they would not understand. However, as the years went on, I knew in my heart that something needed to change.
When I first came to Ryerson University, I had a conversation with a trans woman who explained to me that gender is a spectrum and that it was okay for me not to identify as a man or a woman. After having a more in-depth conversation, I knew deep down in my heart that my pronouns are they/them/their. My name is Benjamin and I am a queer young person. I understand that there will be a time of adjustment for everyone and that is okay.
I know that this may come as a surprise to many people. I apologize for not telling you directly. I still value you all as friends and I wanted to tell you I just did not know how. I am here to answer any questions you have. However, please respect my pronouns. It may not seem like that big of a deal to you, however for me and others like me, it makes an incredible difference. My journey of discovering who I truly am is just beginning and I felt it was important to take this as my next step.