Gender Diaries: Brandy-Alexander Weber
As the world continues to push against gender constructs, the conversation around how people are identifying themselves is constantly evolving. Each week, MILK.XYZ will feature a guest editor writing about their specific relationship with gender and, often, where it intersects with fashion. This week, we feature artist, DJ, and model Brandy-Alexander Weber.
My name is Brandy-Alexander Weber. I’m a 22-year-old Afro-Latina trans woman born in Houston, raised on the border and currently residing in New York City. I am a multidisciplinary artist, DJ and model at Midland Agency.
My humble beginnings are shrouded in a cloud of mystery, due much in part to the fact that I’m adopted. I’ve lost most, if not all, memories of what life was like with my birth family. All that aside, I never genuinely cared a great deal for the concept of “birth” families or whatever. Family should be whatever you make of it, not what is forced upon you by birth and blood. My adoptive family consisted of my mom, dad and brother. But when my dad died when I was three, my mother, a 1st generation Mexican immigrant, had to put grief aside for the sake of seeing her children establish something of themselves.
Being a queer kid with a single mom was tough as hell, especially when half the time I would be left to my own advances to figure things out. I can almost always remember never truly fitting in. I retain distinct memories of bullies and cis white boys in Elementary School repeatedly asking me mundane questions like, “Why do you talk like a girl?”or, “Why do you only hang out with girls all the time?” At the time, my little head went instantly into defense mode as I tried convincing myself of my masculinity.
As time went on I began to show more and more fem attributes but nothing really too “out there” per se. Some lipstick here and there, a couple of blouses from my moms closet and a few tries in her heels. It didn’t really feel out of the ordinary for me and never really thought to label myself any way gender wise. Then, one day, as my little teen self was scrolling through the void of the internet I came across a word I’d not seen or had ever really been exposed to growing up in the South. TRANSGENDER.
The word echoed in my head, my mind raced.
“Is this it?” “Do I identify this way?”
Suddenly, the minute pieces of the puzzle began coming together. I decided to come out as trans at age 19 and haven’t looked back since. Clearly, life as a trans woman of color is no walk in the park especially when working in the fashion industry. Things can get pretty dicey in terms of people misgendering you and objectifying your body but I constantly try to nip it in the bud when I can because although the industry is flawed I firmly believe that if we all stand up to transphobia in the fashion industry, and any industry for that matter, we a sure to enact some sort of change in the long run.
That being said, I still fear for my safety on the day-to-day but I am far happier living my exact truth than to be shrouded in a blanket of cis denial.
Stay tuned to Milk for more Gender Diaries and see our previous installments here.