Watch me fight, watch me cry, let me dare
Text by Ask Stenseth Lilstad
watch me change
clothes, make-up, voice and body
watch me look
in the mirror, in the closet, in everyone else but myself
watch me cry
cry alone, cry for others and for all of us
My entire life I have wondered if this is how it should be, if what I feel is right, or if it is even allowed. Is it even possible not to identify with a gender? Is it possible to feel as screwed up, weird, out of place, and uncomfortable as I do?
watch me shout
shout at you, shout for myself, about myself
watch me struggle, suffer
walk a whole new road
stumble through and look for a way
my own way, just for me
I never hear about it. About people who are neither girl, nor man, they are nothing. Or well, not nothing, they are human! Damn right they are something, them too, they are human beings!
I have learned to be critical, to think for myself. Yet I keep noticing that when I do not conform, I am violating a gender norm. I feel free when I mix masculine and feminine, when I wear a suit and use make-up, when I speak loudly and stand up for myself, despite having been socialized as female. I am free when I am myself.
watch me be me
same old me
let me be me
same old me
it’s just me
I have been a girl, I have been non-binary, I am a trans man, I am me. I am both acknowledged and overlooked, feel both heard and ignored, and in a patriarchy, I know that is just how it is. Some will see me, others try, others will never notice me.
I live a life of struggle. It started as a battle for myself and my rights – now it is battle for me, for all my trans sisters and brothers, and for all other queers.
We’re here, we’re queer and we won’t disappear.
I am often afraid of becoming someone who does not notice others. That I am not the kind of person I myself needed. We have come so far in this battle; what if this is all we can gain?
I know that it is not enough.
no one is free before everyone is free
I need you to see me
just as you see my sisters and brothers
my sisters and brothers in Norway,
We need you.
Ask Stenseth Kilstad
Ask Stenseth-Kilstad is 19 years old, a student and deputy head of Queer Youth in Norway.