Listening to Buck Angel’s speech was inspiring and life changing because it was real. Angel talked about his transition, his childhood and young adulthood when he felt disconnected from his body because he knew he was a boy, and that what he felt connected with. This occurred when he hit puberty and realized that what he believed he was did not match what perceived him as. He copped the only way he knew how to numb the pain, because he did not have to think about how he was being called a “she” and being referred to as a woman. By drinking, getting high and cutting himself he reveals how our social construct of the gender as a binary is destructive and painful when one does not fall into either of these restrictive categories. This critique of our society is important because it still occur today and is very much a lived reality of lot people. This desire to live lead to his journey to find professionals who could help him transition in a time when transitioning from a woman to a male was unheard of, in the United States. By transitioning, he talked about the importance of being connected with his body and how this brought him hope and opened the possibility to a whole new world.
The two advice he shared with the audience were to deprogram our minds and to express gratitude. The first advice resonated with me because I have come to realize that at Colgate I often times have to perform certain role behave a certain way, represent a certain identity. Also the dissatisfaction of the constant performance, which is not real, can be exhaustive. I have been thinking about the constant performance that occurs on this campus and how it self-perpetuates these gender binaries at the very expense of the denial of our own happiness. And for me this fear that seizes me when I think about deprogramming my mind and to stop performing, what would that mean? This fear evolves out of the so-called unknown and also acknowledging the fact that the performance is comfortable and set yet costly. It is costly because we lose ourselves and by deprogramming our minds, we have the possibility to find ourselves. This is done by constant self-examination and critique of my life, and how I navigate in the spaces on campus and outside in the world. This is a life journey that I always have to work on and it makes it less overwhelming. Finally, gratitude is important because we all have people that we are grateful for and our very existence at this very moment is a moment to be grateful for. This gratitude does put a smile on our face because it is a reminder of being alive. Therefore, I am grateful.