1. I think people of your generation are somehow lucky enough to be exposed to a lot more diversity of gender expressions than for instance the generation of men before you, what are your thoughts on this?
I agree that people of my generation are exposed to a lot more diversity of gender expression than the generation of men before me. I think that this has had a massively positive impact on gender expectations within our generation. For instance there was a trend on Tick-Tock of straight men wearing skirts, makeup, and traditionally ‘feminine’ jewellery. This diversity of gender expression can be credited to the growth of the common use of technology and the internet. Even though this is, in my opinion, an incredibly positive thing for my generation, it’s important to note that this diversity of gender expression on the internet does not transfer to Maltese society. I think this comfort on diversity in gender expression only really exists on a wide scale within my generation, and not in the one before mine. So, I think it’s really up to my generation within Maltese society to stand up to the older generation who, from experience and through the words of others, I can easily say does not take to this ‘new wave’ of gender expression diversity.
2. Do you happen to have any male role models ? What are the qualities that you like about them?
I don’t have any male role models. I think that this is because I find it hard to relate to cisgender men and because in a way, I find them threatening. I think that many people who are afab and do not identify as female, can relate to this. A part of this might also come from the abuse that I have received from men who were supposed to be role models for me. I also think that growing up as a trans person has made me seen the grey in life, as opposed to black and white, and when I think of the concept of a role model, it makes me think of that person being ‘perfect’ and fitting into that all ‘white’ category, which I simply do not identify, relate to, or acknowledge.
3. Do you think that it is important for us to challenge, and change aspects of masculinity that are problematic?
Yes, I do think that it is important for us to challenge, and change aspects of masculinity that are problematic. This is because toxic masculinity has negative effects on society as a whole as well as individuals. The way that we grow up within a society shapes in a way, who we become and how we function as human beings. Growing up within toxic masculinity can change the chemistry of the maturing brain and reinforce toxic and unhealthy behaviours. For example, when a child is told their entire life, that being vulnerable is shameful, that child will grow up and project, repress, deny, project etc their emotions onto others in a very negative way that can be manipulative and abusive. Nobody likes that.
4. What does masculinity mean to you ?
That’s a complex question, probably because the notion of masculinity is in itself complex. I think that if you were to ask 10 people, you’d probably get various differing answers. Through my perspective, masculinity is a feeling of confidence and assertiveness. But then I think “can’t femininity be confidence and assertiveness as well?”. I think that the best way to put it, is that masculinity is a concept that enforces certain stereotypes, but that doesn’t mean that our personal experiences of masculinity are invalid.
5. What does trans joy mean / feel to you?
Trans joy feels like comfort. When I feel trans joy, I feel at peace. In these moments or periods (as of recent) of trans joy, I feel confident, and I feel like myself. It’s hard to describe to someone who does not experience this what ‘feeling like yourself’ means, but I think the best way to describe it in terms of my personal experience is that I truly relax into myself. It’s a beautiful feeling.