Accepting & Loving Who You Are, As You Are: The Ultimate Form of Pride

lgbtq+ peopleDeja Nicole Greenlaw at a former Pride celebration circa 2012.
Photo: TRT Archives

This June cementing who you are as the  ultimate form of pride and a new level of comfort

By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist— 

It’s June and once again, Pride season is upon us. This is the time when many folks come together and celebrate their diversity. It’s a wonderful time where you can relax, catch up with friends whom you see maybe only once a year, enjoy each other, and maybe push the diversity envelope a little more than you usually do.

Yes, prides can be wonderful, but not everyone celebrates them. Some folks may be busy with other things or maybe they just don’t care to celebrate it, for whatever reasons. I have been participating in prides since 2004, and, although it’s a lot better these days, I’ve always found it hard to get trans people to attend the prides and the marches. For years, it was only a handful of trans folks who would come. Yes, I do realize that some trans people are trying to go the “stealth” route, that is, trying to blend into society and to keep their trans status on the down low.  I do respect their wishes not to attend pride activities and not participate in the marches. I wish them well but, at the same time, I also feel a little sad for them.

To me, to deny who you are can be very troublesome, especially if you are questioned or outed as a trans person. I’ve seen so many trans women get so upset when they think that they are passing (blending into society as female) and they get clocked (recognized as being transgender). Some cry, some yell, and some get real quiet. It’s an uncomfortable situation where feelings are hurt, emotions run high, and their day is ruined.

Let’s face it, it’s hard for someone who has lived decades presenting as one gender and then begin to present as the other gender. In the case of trans women, many of us are tall, we might have big shoulders, we might have large hands, we might have large Adam’s apples, maybe a definitive brow, have hairline issues, have low voices, and we might not move and act so feminine.  It’s really hard to pass as female when you have a few of these things as shortcomings.

Since I came into the trans community in 2001, like many other trans women, I have tried to play down these shortcomings. I’ve had some success with some and not so much success with others. I finally came to the conclusion that I still do have some of these male things going on even though I identify as female. I suppose that I could try to change some of these things with surgeries and that I could study harder on how to present more female, but I decided to not try. Instead, I’ve fully accepted who I am with my shortcomings. I’ve accepted my height, my large hands, my hairline, my low voice, and my male-like movements. Just this year I’ve decided to not only accept my “shortcomings,” but also to love and be proud of them. After all, I am me and there is nothing wrong with me. Like John Candy’s character in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” said, “I’m not changing. I like me!” I like my height, I like my hands, I like my hairline, I like my low voice, and I like the way I carry myself.

I’ve always questioned the thought about conforming physically to female norms. Yes, I’ve always bucked the status quo, but it wasn’t until I heard the voices of the “enbies” (non-binary people), and the GNCs (gender nonconforming people) that I finally put two and two together and decided to totally love all of myself, even my non-female conforming attributes. Yes, I’ve listened to the youth of today and they have turned my head. Although I still identify as female, I now reject the binary, which is, that there are only male and female genders. I can now see that there are more than two genders. I thank you, youth of today! Let me thank you with my low voice, and give you a hug with my big body and my large hands!! I am me, we are who we are, and there is nothing wrong with us.

Happy Pride!

*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a trans woman who has three grown children and is retired from 3M. She can be contacted at



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