The genderfluid trans artist and author talks ethnicity, gender identity, and their book of poems, among other things
By: La Espiritista*/Special to The Rainbow Times—
My name, La Espiritista, means “the spiritualist” in Spanish—the medium between this physical world and the spiritual world—a healer who is a conduit for receiving and delivering messages. I am a human who also happens to be an Author, Performance Artist, and trans (AFAB – Assigned Female At Birth). My transness is not binary, so I use the term non-binary some instances, but I mostly like the terms genderfluid and two-spirit for myself.
Two-spirit is an umbrella term, which was created for the First Nations Peoples of this land of the U.S. who are both male and female, but these peoples existed and exist in indigenous communities throughout the entire world. My people come from Peru and Cuba, and although I am not entirely sure the specific indigenous ancestors I come from, because of accessibility and generational trauma, in respect to whatever the word was for my ancestors, I use this term.
I will be releasing my first book of poetry Butterfly: Una Transformacion this August 2019, which I am extremely excited to share with the greater sphere! The book is ultimately about transformation, which as artists we transform things all the time. We may transform our grief into beautiful poetry. We may transform our joy into high rhythmic vibes. We may transform our anger into an invigorating sex novel. The potential for transformation as artists is limitless and, as artists who are non-binary, we truly hold a deep integral understanding of this medicine in many ways.
Right now, in this very moment, I can count the number of non-binary authors that have their book published with my own two hands. I can also count the number of non-binary authors who have been publicly recognized in one. How about those who are non-binary and people of color? Currently, I can’t think of any off the top of my head, which is a huge issue.
There is an illusion of scarcity for artists who are non-binary, when in reality there is an abundance of us creating right here, right now.
So often I hear stories whether in employment spaces, media, educational institutions, that there just weren’t “enough” folks who were non-binary who could fill the role, or who were qualified enough. The truth is that there are more of us that I can keep track on my hand, let alone my head that can fulfill and participate in many of these roles.
We are ignored, while only a few of us are granted a voice and a platform. Really, the folks who can be palatable enough for folks in power. We are expected to believe this is good enough—that since we know one story, we know them all.
When we think about artists, we can see how one prompt can create so many variations of interpretation from it and it often baffles me how people can’t bridge how the same goes for folks who are non-binary.
There is limitless potential for the way an identity and expression can unfold.
Scarcity mentality is something I struggle with a lot and that I witness our community battling with daily, so I think it’s important to name it, call ourselves back, and transform it into gratitude, appreciation, and inspiration.
For myself, as a person of color, I am born being told I lack and am inferior because of white supremacy. As a person coming from low socioeconomic status, I am facing the trauma from my past reality of lacking adequate access to resources such as sustainable food, clothes, and other basic needs. As a person who is trans and non-binary, I now have to face the truth that I really will never have it be simple and “straightforward.”
There are so many struggles within the LGBT community as a whole because we all live within a spectrum of intersecting identities. We are all trying to figure out who our true authentic selves really are. Often times, I see conflict between people with different identities in the community and even with folks who identify the same way. For myself, my experience in the more mainstream LGBT binary community may not be understood. Folks usually assume I am trans masculine, a trans man, or a cis man, when all these are incorrect for myself. Some conflict may arise with folks who make similar decisions to transition medically like myself, but may identify in a different way, for example a binary trans man.
This is where scarcity is kicking in, scarcity may say ‘Folks will think less legitimacy of my manhood if they see how you identify, and we have made similar choices,’ when in reality, what I choose to do and how I identify has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else but me! I am not looking to be understood anymore. I don’t think we can ever truly understand someone else’s experience to be quite honest, but I am dreaming a world where we can accept that we won’t ever understand everything and that even with that truth we are still responsible to create, hold, and manifest space where we can all coexist together. I exist to hold space for another’s healing process and that begins with holding space for my full holistic being.
Scarcity can be an ugly force to reckon with because so often it fuels our envy and jealousy. I think for people who are also non-binary, this can be a huge issue that really sets us back from achieving our highest and fullest potential. We can get so caught up in trying to compete with each other when, in reality, we need to be joining forces and creating new opportunities to collaborate. We need to come back to our centers and expand from there, find ways which we can unite to uplift each other. I want to gently remind myself and us that we can always transform this for ourselves and remember that we are far stronger together.
*La Espiritista (They/Them) is an author, performance artist, and healer based out of Seattle, WA (occupied Duwamish land). They are a co-founder of “Share the Spirit,” a small healing arts business that helps individuals clear limiting beliefs, heal energetic wounds, and open creative channels. They are the author of “Butterfly: Una Transformación,” a collection of poetry which speaks about the process of inner transformation through four phases of metamorphosis: release. renewal. retreat. rebirth. Their art is a manifestation of their exploration of queer spirituality. You can pre-order “Butterfly: Una Transformación,” at https://is.gd/Espiritista.