Gender Diaries: Sawyer DeVuyst
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 where it intersects with fashion. This week, we feature model, actor, and visual artist Sawyer DeVuyst.
I’m sitting here thinking, “Why? Why am I the way I am?” I used to ask myself this in a critical way, as if who and what I was was wrong. After far too long, now, I ask with a genuine curiosity to know myself and with self acceptance. I’ve asked myself this question so many times that the answers are actually crystal clear. Nature Vs. Nurture. It’s the amount of siblings I grew up with. It’s the amount of money I grew up without. It’s the fundamentalist born-again Christian church I grew up in. It’s how I’ve been Nurtured, but it’s also my Nature. The tenacity of my Leo sun and the introspective processing and constant questioning of my Aquarius moon.
I like to think that all of this has brought me to this place that I’ve only come to recently. It’s a revelation, and I tell anyone who will listen, like it’s gospel. It’s a place of extreme self-love; a place I never thought I’d get to. As I’ve grown into my trans identity, through years of disordered eating, self-hatred and shame—trying to control this seemingly out of control organism—and giving myself the gift of time and distance between myself and toxic people, I’ve realized that we are not our bodies. It’s not my body that was out of control. My body works great. It was my mind and spirit that was out of control because society is out of control.
We’ve all been fed this false idea that to be beautiful and desirable and correct, men were to look and act that way and women were to look and act this way; that men have that body and women have this body. But what if I told you that men and women aren’t opposites? They’re actually complimentary. Masculinity and femininity working together is beautiful. They paint a beautiful picture because the possibilities are endless.
Everyone on this planet is a soul inside an intricate blob of muscle and bone and skin. Vehicles we use to get from point A to point B, to experience life in. Everyone’s experiences on this planet are different because we’re taught how to treat people based on their body. Based on their perceived gender, on how skinny or fat they are, on their skin color. It’s so important to acknowledge that, because no matter how much I say, “I’m more than my body!” there’s still going to be CoolGuy123 commenting on the size of a woman, cops murdering innocent black people going about their daily lives and getting away with it, the host of a morning radio show saying he’d kill a woman if he found out she was trans after sleeping with her, the President of the United States mocking a differently abled reporter on live TV.
Realizing that I am not my body means that, for me, I can move through the world being gentler to people around me. And I can move through the world being gentler to myself for once. So why am I the way I am? Because I’m a mixture of male and female energy, working together instead of against each other, painting a fresh, beautiful picture that is unlike any other.
Self portraits courtesy of Sawyer DeVuyst
Stay tuned to Milk for more Gender Diaries and see our previous installments here.