Non-binary teen prepares for first Pride
'It was like a door opening for me, it was such a revelation to know this was an option'
Micah Cottingham is a 15-year-old who identifies as non-binary, trans, queer, and bisexual.
The Vancouver teen began identifying as non-binary two years ago visiting a science fiction convention in Seattle.
There, Micah connected with several non-binary youth who used they/them pronouns. Micah too uses these pronouns.
"It was like a door opening for me, it was such a revelation to know this was an option and it felt so much better than anything I'd ever heard before."
Micah says gender is a construct. "As a society, we get a person's sex and gender mixed up together when they're really different things.
"I'm just really glad that there are some identities out there that actually fit for a lot of people."
On Thursday, Micah and their mother, Alexandra Samuel, spent the day preparing for their first Vancouver Pride parade since coming out.
Samuel said that as a "grammar nut," she had a hard time adapting to the new pronouns at first.
Micah, meanwhile, praises their family for their support. "You guys make me feel so accepted and just let me be who I want to be."
Micah says it's hard to find clothes that match their gender identity. Some days Micah feels like wearing a dress, other days, the opposite. "If I wear a skirt I will die."
This feeling is part of Micah's gender dysphoria. "It's the feeling that my gender does not match who I am…and is relieved the most when I'm wearing something that I just feel awesome in."
For that reason, finding the right outfit for Pride is very important.
Alexandra and Micah start their search on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver at Urban Outfitters.
Micah says the ideal outfit will be, "very sparkly and very rainbow."
Micah understands that there's more to Pride than just a celebration. They said it means being able to be free from judgment of being gay or trans.
"It means being able to be yourself without people hurling bricks or trying to kill you for it…It's knowing you're surrounded by friends who know you and support you and love you for who you are."
Micah is pleased with the new look, but is still missing pieces for Sunday's outfit. The next stop is Little Sister's on Davie Street.
Micah picks up a pair of rainbow-patterned socks and a trans flag at Little Sister's.
After looking through several of their favourite local stores, Samuel and Micah decide nothing is sparkly enough. They will add sparkles to a shirt themselves.
Micah says if there is an ideal future, it would be a world without judgment.
However, underneath the optimistic spirit of the rainbows, sparkles, and purple hair, Micah is a realist. "There's always going to be judgment."