Exactly me

Selfies of trans UU professionals Sarah Weaver, Chelsea Surfus, Katherine Childs, and jo mosher.

‘I thought I had to be what other people wanted me to be, but it didn’t work.’

Image: Members of TRUUsT include (clockwise from top left) Sarah Weaver, Chelsea Surfus (center, with Mal and Wes), Katherine Childs, and jo mosher. (Courtesy of TRUUsT)

Courtesy of TRUUsT

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This essay appears as part of “We’re Right Here: Transgender and Nonbinary Unitarian Universalist Leaders” in the Summer 2019 edition, developed in collaboration with TRUUsT  and edited by the Rev. Theresa I. Soto.

‘Why?” one of my coworkers asked me today, after I shared that I was trans and that I had changed my name to Sarah.

I felt defensive at first. “That’s a long story. Because I’ve been listening to my heart.” He seemed satisfied with this answer.

I wasn’t, though. After I clocked out, I went by where he was still working.

“Yeah, ‘Why?’ That’s a mind-bender for me still, to be honest,” I said. “I’ve been out on Facebook for a year, and to my church and family for longer than that, and I still ask ‘Why?’ I still look for an explanation.

“I told someone just the other day, ‘I still find myself looking for some evidentiary basis to point to, that will prove that I am who I say I am, a woman. The people who prefer to define me differently have evidence they can point to, and here I am, all ‘I’m just way happier, yo.’”

This made sense to him. I went on.

“I tried not to be this. I didn’t want to be this. I thought I had to be what other people wanted me to be, but it didn’t work. I didn’t know what it was like to be loved for being exactly me until recently, because I never was being exactly me. I thought it was impossible to be loved for being exactly me.

“And that makes such a difference,” I said, “such a difference. I used to not want to be me, and now I do want to be me.”

“Yeah, that’s a big difference,” he agreed.

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