“You know who you are. Don’t let them take that away from you”
That is a quote from my mother after I told her about an incident in class where I was misgendered three times by a white woman twice my age. She said those words to me in January, and I have been reflecting upon what they really meant for me. As many of you know, I have spent this last year, re-learning who I truly am since the night of my assault in December 2019 and learning to love myself again.
In this journey of self-love and awareness, I have become a lot more conscious of my gendered identity, especially within the classroom. Well, generally, academia overall to be totally honest. When I was misgendered in class, I realized that these people in my classroom do not truly see me (despite literally being a digital square with my pronouns next to my name). They do not truly know what I and so many other’s go through, and they will probably never know. Yet, this is not to pit them against me, rather realizing that my sense of self should not be predicated on the approval of those in my classroom, and academia.
This realization was not just in this one instance. Over the course of this year, I have been questioning about my participation in academia, my existence within the academy, and I am not entirely sure that is where I want to be. But, for now, I do not mind. It’s an experience that I am learning from, yet I know it is not where I truly belong. I do not belong in a machinery that constantly invalidates and violates me, simply because people cannot grasp the concept of pronouns and transient existences.
I do not plan on leaving academia anytime soon, yet it is something I will be pondering the next few weeks, months, years, etc. to come. Yet, like my mother reminded me. I know who I am. I am learning more about who I am. And, there is something beautiful and amazing with this lifelong process of self-discovery.
Inspiring Joy & Justice | Trans Day of Visibility
Something else that has been a major part of this year, besides the lovely self-growth and awareness, was acquiring a supportive and beautiful audience of followers committed to supporting and celebrating Queer, Trans, and Indigenous Peoples. I had no intention of ever becoming an “influencer,” and yet, I am honored to inspire joy and justice to so many of you through a blend of TikToks, Instagram Reels, educational graphics, interactive stories, and more. What initially were humorous lip-syncing antics have become educational content that addressed issues of college-access, representation, trans-misogyny, cultural exploitation, climate justice, commentary on various issues, calls to action, and more to come.
Personally, social media is a digital depository that inspires people, and I have been inspired by so many beautiful people. When I am not busy cramming a paper at midnight or reviewing literature, I enjoy explaining theory through memes, reacting to other content creators, and sharing my experiences with navigating this colonizing world whether it be through photos, graphics, or a 15-second lip-syncing video. I am having fun and along the way, I met so many phenomenal people.
We know who we are, and despite the constant hate and trolls many of us receive on social media, we continue to make content. Not just for us, but for those who could be us. For me, it is the queer Native kid who does not have the language to articulate themself, yet has a love for reading fantasy, daydreams of being the hero in the story, plays Pokémon, and loves shopping, yet feels alone in this scary world. That’s the person I create my content for, and I hope they are inspired and will inspire others.
Yet, I am not the only one creating this level of content. There are so many wonderful people out there, and in honor of Trans Day of Visibility and my 26th Birthday, here are 26 phenomenal trans beings who I adore and who have inspired me. Please share with them as much love and support as you have shared with me.
Although this annual birthday post does not have any explicit insight from this last year as the previous post, I know who I am. I know who I have become. I know who i was. I am learning to love myself again, all the parts of myself, and that is a beautiful and (sometimes) exhausting process.
I am Charlie Amáyá Scott. I am Diné. I am Queer. I am Trans. I am a constellation of relationships that have shaped and influenced my journey through this life. I am a divine being, an embodiment of change. That is who I am, do you know who you are?
Thank you // Ahéhee’