QUEERVIEW MIRROR MAY Why visibility matters

By Anasteja Layne

VANCOUVER – As a young child, I was enamoured by the glitz and glam of fashion. Like a lot of femmes, my first experience with ‘fashion’ was watching Victoria’s Secret Angels prance and twirl on the runway. I quickly learned what feeling sexy, confident, and present did for people. I was also blindly unaware of the complexities of ego, self-consciousness and misogyny.

Eventually I went on to become an awkward, overweight teenager. Trapped in dysphoria, with no answers for me in my small village. Here, I began to see and understand the grey in life and I decided to make a change. “*Become a Model*”
I didn’t want to be known as the “fat, black, gay kid” (a harsh but true reality), and I knew I was the only one that could evoke such change within myself.

I lost 100 pounds, graduated with honours, and went on to grab a modelling contract and set off to globetrot! I also met my first transgendered woman. I barely got to know her but she radiated a warmth and love so powerful that in that moment, Marianne Williamson’s “Our Deepest Fear” suddenly made sense. I also came to know by living my truth and being the best I can be, I normalized what being transgender was. That my unique story would give others permission to do the same. So five years ago I began my own transition. In that truth, I found more success than fathomable: in my life, my career, even in love. The boy who never was kissed became the bombshell.

Your uniqueness, no matter your chosen or identifiable demographic, are animated representations. Your presence and your personal successes, joys, and compassions are a catapult of normalization. Because unique is normal, and that is OK. You are allowed to embrace your beauty, your talent, your sexy, your fabulousness. It’s OK to only be validated by yourself because beauty is an experience you can only define for yourself. That’s why #visibilitymatters.