On Dharma and Identity

Happy Pride everyone! If you’ve been in my classes at all this month, you know I’ve been celebrating Pride for all of June. Today, the final day of June, is an opportunity to get in one last hurrah. No matter how you identify, I truly believe Pride is an important moment to celebrate. Here’s why.

This week I’ve shared the yogic philosophy of Dharma –someone’s personal calling or path. There’s a quote in the Bhagavad Gita that translates to, “It is better to do one’s own dharma, even though imperfectly, than to do another’s, even though perfectly.”

Why do I share this while talking about Pride? Because of my own experience of coming out. In case you didn’t know, hi! I used to identify as bisexual, but in recent years, that’s felt too gender binary. Now I just identify as queer. It’s easy for me to say now, but that wasn’t always the case.

I remember how scared I was before I told my parents I was dating a woman. I remember feeling like I was on a precipice, and that I had to jump, but I didn’t know if I would be caught or dropped. Yes, I was still attracted to men, and that part of me was easy to understand. But there was this other part of me that I had just discovered, that I knew was important to share. Realizing that I was attracted to women was like seeing I Love Lucy in color for the first time. I was still me, but now everything had more color and depth than I had experienced before. Things in my life, stretching back for years, clicked and made more sense. I was more me by acknowledging this piece of me. And so, it was better for me to jump imperfectly into being my own self than to perform someone else’s dharma or life perfectly. This puts me more in alignment with my truest self. For me, this label of queer, matters. And saying it out loud matters even more.

For trans and genderqueer folx the desire to be referred to with their proper pronouns is pivotal. It means acknowledging them by their true identity. I cannot imagine how fearful the leap into asking people to call you by your true pronouns must be, but I hope that the more we normalize accepting others in all their forms, the safer it will be for others to make the leap into their own identity. I hope one day it won’t feel like a leap at all.

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