UNDERSTANDING A GENDER FLUID LIFE

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire.  Finding Erotica continues our mission to feature a variety of perspectives on Eroticism and its meaning in today’s age.  We remain steadfast in our commitment to recognize and raise awareness of all types of relationships and their respective dynamics.

We are so enthused to bring you the story of one person’s journey through gender fluidity.

What follows is a conversation full of revelation, authenticity, heartfelt sharing and enriched insight into a world that is too often off limits.

We bring you Valorie Sapphire.

 

GENDER IDENTIFICATION

 

FE: First question, my pronouns are she, her, and hers and I identify as cisgender / heterosexual, what are yours?

VS: It varies based on how I present on a given day.  But I identify as gender fluid.  If given an ultimatum, I probably would stick with she, her, and hers.  On days when I present more male, it is easier to use he and his.  I understand that can be really confusing to people who don’t have a sort of fluid gender identity.

I also have many transgender or non-binary friends who find it very unsettling when they are misgendered.  Misgendering someone intentionally is disrespectful.  You are basically saying “I don’t care how you feel.  I am going to ignore the effort you make to be true to yourself and instead judge you based on my personal biases and some preconceived notion of what is going on between your legs.”  You are taking someone who is possibly already vulnerable and triggering more anxiety and stress.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

When you are mis-gendered, it can cause so much anxiety and pain. If you think about it, people put a lot of effort into gender presentation.  They may go through surgeries that are painful and expensive.  You may change your name, your wardrobe, your career.  Trying to change how you relate to the world is a big undertaking.

If someone is presenting as female and then someone else says, “no, I’m just going to call him a him, I don’t care what or how you’re trying to express yourself.  You were born male, I’m going to make assumptions about what’s going on between your legs.  And then based on that, I’m going to ignore what you have and what you think.”  That, to, is insulting because it shows that you don’t care about that person’s feelings.

This is someone who possibly is already vulnerable, who’s been subject to bullying, who is being ostracized by society, and then you’re going to front them and continue to pick on them and ignore their feelings.

That’s just mean. Why do that?

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

Everyone has a different journey that they’re going to be on and they’re going to find a different place on the spectrum where they’re happy that might use different pronouns, so just respect them.   If in doubt, just feel free to ask.  Putting in that little effort also shows that you care.

FE: Can you explain that a little bit more for those who just don’t know what gender fluid is?

VS: Yes.  This means I don’t identify myself exclusively as male or female.  I have a mild dysphoria, which is the sense that your body and mind don’t match but it fluctuates a lot from day to day.  So, some days I feel more masculine, other days I feel more feminine and I express myself accordingly.  I have friends who pick up changes on it even if I don’t change my clothes, but my mannerisms change unconsciously.  Again, I understand that may be confusing to other people – particularly those who have a very fixed sense of identity.

Studies have shown that biological sex, gender and sexuality are different spectrums.  When it comes to biology, you could try to classify people as XX or XY but no two people have the same level of hormones and those will vary from day-to-day and over your lifetime.  There are also intersexed people who have both male and female sexual attributes.  When it comes to interpersonal relationships, you can be attracted to males or females or varying aspects of both.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

There are also a wide range of masculine and feminine personalities and ways to express yourself.  These different attributes don’t have to be related, so one could have any combination of biological sex, mental gender and sexual preference.

Just try to be respectful and open-minded – I try not get too caught up in wrong name or pronoun.  I try to be more forgiving.  You call me what you want and I don’t get offended because, as I say, this can be confusing to people. If in doubt, just ask.

FE: Yeah.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

VS: As far as sexual preference, I am attracted to the feminine end of the spectrum both physically and mentally.  That doesn’t change, so I guess that makes me either trans-lesbian or heterosexual depending on if people perceive me as male or female.

FE: Yes. Yes. How and when did you know you were LGBTQ?

VS: So, my very first memory of anything like that would be when I was about five or six.

I would have very vivid recurring dreams where I would shape shift back and forth between male and female.  In a lot of them I was a small fairy, as I really enjoyed flying, climbing around and exploring places.  I first started expressing my female side when I was around eight or nine.  Mostly dressing in my mom’s clothes which continued through high school.  So, I knew how I felt from a very young age, I just didn’t know what to call it.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

In the 90s, there wasn’t much public awareness or discussion of trans issues, there was no social media or YouTube – so I felt alone with no one to identify with.  Even after I went off to college, I could buy my own clothes, but all I saw was over the top drag performance typically by gay men or by straight men for comedic effect.  I felt most college groups focused on the LGB and not the T.

My first time going out in public was my sophomore year of college.  It was Halloween, I obviously put a lot more thought into it than my friends, though like a preteen-girl, my fashion sense was terrible.  I didn’t actually come out till my mid-20s.  Since I was working for a university, I went back and was more involved in on-campus LGBT groups.  Sometimes I wish I could have done that earlier.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

FE: Were you aware of drag queens?

VS: Yeah, I’d see them on talk shows.  But they’re usually ostracized.  Like, this is something that is not considered normal.  And these people are generally over the top and drag is different in its own space.  Traditionally drag is a sort of over-the-top tribute to femininity done by gay men.  They’re not a transgender.  It’s more of a performance as opposed to a gender identity.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t transgender people who do drag.

FE: Generally, drag is more like an act versus the transgender is more like a lifestyle.

VS: Yes. Being transgender isn’t something you can control. It isn’t a costume, it is part of you.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

FE: What was it like for you when you realized that fundamental things you’ve been told about yourself were wrong?  Was there anything that was told to you that was right?  If so, what were the most important of those things you can remember?

VS: I think it was an amazing sense of relief.  I always had felt like I had to cure myself of something.  My family was always very loving and accepting, but there were high expectations.  I just felt that I would be letting them down somehow if I revealed my true self.  When I realized that I didn’t have to change to suit anyone else’s belief system, that I could just be myself and still be accepted and be in a happy relationship.  A lot of guilt and anxiety just evaporated.  I had tried to repress an entire side of myself, which just made me shy and introverted.  I still sometimes find it hard to open up entirely.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

I grew up thinking that in a moment this was not normal and that’s just through family and friends identifying with who you are when you were born.  So, that just told me that there was no cross or in between.

I always thought that there was something wrong with me.  I think people, kids who are at a very, very young age learn, they pick up on society’s stereotypes and behaviors. Oh, that’s a male thing or that’s a female thing.

But with a really, really young baby, they have no concept of gender.  It’s something that society imposes on them.  Today society thinks of pink as a female color or blue as a male color.  If you go back a hundred years ago it would be different with pink being male. Right?

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

You walk around and if you’re a man with long hair kids will look at you like why does he have long hair?

That’s not something they were born with, that’s something actually society puts up on them.  Kids have no filter and are very attentive to these cues around them.

So those are the things that I was trying to overcome and not having good role models. There were no other transgender people that I could be following that would show me that I wasn’t alone.

My family, as always, was very loving and accepting.  I think the reason I didn’t come out to them sooner is they had very high expectations for me like: you’re going to go off to college, you’re going to be a good student.  You’re going to be the best you can be.  I felt that somehow by being me, if I come out to them, I’d be letting them down somehow.  Once I did accept that there was this huge sense of happiness and what it was like, I didn’t feel like I had to change myself.  So, I could be more extroverted, outgoing.

 

THE PROCESS OF TRANSITIONING

 

FE: Ok, did you always know or was there a specific moment in time the realization hit you that you were trans?  Was it at age five?

VS: I don’t think it was when I was five at that point, just thought that there was something wrong when I was in high school.   There’s something wrong with me and somehow, I needed this to go away, because it was going to interfere with my ability to have relationships with people, with girlfriends.

FE: When did you begin the process of transitioning in your sense of gender identification and what was the process to make the decision to finally come out?

VS: I became more introverted because I was trying to hide part of myself.  The first person I ever told was my future wife, then girlfriend.  I was twenty-four or twenty-five.

She was the first person I felt like I could trust enough, like I had enough sense of comfort that I could come out to someone.  I felt like I was lying to her by hiding part of myself.  I was afraid that I would lose her.  It took almost a year before I felt the stability  and support that I could open up, however, she was the first person who made me comfortable.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

It was about six months after I came out to my future wife, where we went to a gathering in Las Vegas called Diva Las Vegas, which was a gathering of transgender folks.  More of a group vacation than a convention.  That’s the first time I actually met other people who had gone through the same experiences I had. That sort of changed everything.

I started to realize that in LGBT and beyond you could exist without wanting to fully transition, having surgery and hormones, and that I could do.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

FE: What course of action followed your decision to come out?

VS:  So for me, there was an explosion of freedom, I’m free.  I ran out and I think I got my first proper medical prosthetics, clothes and makeup.  It was all within a week.

I think for my girlfriend it was a lot more difficult because her first question was, are you gay?  There is a general assumption that if you’re expressing, you identify as a woman, then you must be gay and therefore attracted to men.  I assured her that I was still the same person and my love for her was not going to change.

This was a big change.  A year is a long time to hide something and she felt a bit like I had tricked her into loving me.  She was afraid she was going to lose me for fear I was going to go run off somewhere, which wasn’t the case.  Then she was afraid that maybe I’m going to fully transition.  What saved the relationship was her parents, in particular her dad.  They come from a conservative, Southern Baptist, rural Texas upbringing, but somehow, I had made a good impression because her dad convinced her to give me another shot.

In the end it worked out.  She gave me a lot more confidence to just be myself.  She helped me choose a female name, gave a lot of fashion help, as all my fashion sense was it was terrible.  Seven years later we got married.

I think usually when people come out to their significant others, the biggest issue is the fact that you didn’t trust them.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

I’ve met people who cross dress and have a female gender identity and they couldn’t get the support from their wives or spouses for 20 or 30 years.  They may go as far as having an entire apartment where they keep their stuff.  They don’t tell their wives or they don’t tell their kids until they’re maybe 50 something and then they finally come out.

Often the partner thinks they’re cheating when they find some female clothes lying around.  They’re like, oh, no, I am the other woman.  The biggest challenge is that you didn’t trust that person for 20 years.

You might have had kids together, but you didn’t trust them.

The other issue is usually if you decide to transition full time, it’s sort of asking your SO to also change their sexual orientation.  This is not a journey that you’re going on alone, it is a journey that you’re going on together.

You have to be really aware of the other person’s thoughts and feelings; sometimes taking it slow because they need it right now.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

FE: How did other family and friends take the news of your coming out?

VS: I was living with my brother when I came out, so I couldn’t really hide it from him.  I met up with my sister a short time later, which was fantastic and she has been really supportive.  When I told my mother, her reaction was “Don’t worry, I already knew”.  Mothers know more than even you know.  At this point I am out to nearly all friends and family.  I have never had a truly bad experience.  The work environment is probably the hardest place to transition, since there is still a lot of inequity in how men and women are treated, let alone those who lie outside the traditional roles.

FE: Was there help and support from anyone else?

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

VS: Besides my wife, one thing that really helped was pole dancing.  While there are many stereotypes about pole, it really helped me feel comfortable in my own skin, find my feminine identity.  When I started I felt very reserved – I stood out over six feet tall, over 200lb.  I tried to hide behind my clothes, pole dance in jeans.  But you can’t cover anything up in pole dancing, you have to embrace your physical strengths and weaknesses.  Everyone is going to be built differently – tall, short, slender, curvy, strong or flexible – but everyone can move and express their own identity.

Pole is also a really supporting community, with girls of every shape and color.  My first real pole studio home, Secret Pole Dance Studio, really was a sisterhood that welcomed me.  Pole dancing doesn’t just have to be about being sexy, you can dance about politics, gender, or whatever stresses you are dealing with on any given day.

 

TREATMENTS

 

FE: Have you decided to pursue medical treatments?  If so, what was the process like?

VS: Generally, I consider medical treatments to be a private matter.  In my case, I try to love and live with the body I was born with as much as possible.

It wasn’t till a couple of years after my dad found out that I presented as female when I was around them.  Yeah, it was like …

FE: Wow!

VS: So that was a big thing, still, to have that level of comfort but he just didn’t understand it.  He kept trying to find some medical diagnosis, and was asking, is this some form of schizophrenia?  Do you have multiple personalities?

I was trying to explain it, but he needed to put a label on this, and I don’t like labels.

I remember one time I was travelling back from Vegas, I just spent a week at a conference and was flying back on Southwest and this older black man in his late 50’s came up to me and said “do you mind if I ask you some questions?”

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

People don’t usually approach each other like that.  We ended up chatting and sitting on the plane together.  He was on his way to the wedding of his son, who was about to get married to his boyfriend.

He was a retired police officer and he was very, very uncomfortable with his son’s relationship.

Mostly based on the fact that, as he described it, the idea of male sex made him nautious.  He had noticed that I was comfortable in my skin and very happy, maybe I could help.  First I had to explain the difference between gender identity, sexual identity and biology to him.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

Yet the breakthrough was that he’d actually come from a very religious upbringing where his family had been very religious, but he actually wasn’t.  His parents couldn’t accept the fact that he wasn’t religious and there was a rift between them.

They still loved him, even though he’s not going to church.  It’s actually the same as where he still loves his son, even though he is gay.  You don’t have to understand it, you don’t have to be in that bedroom, just like you don’t have to be in that church.

He wanted to know “how do I confront my son at this wedding?”  I’m like, you don’t have to confront your son.  You just have to tell him that you love him.  This wedding is not about you.  This wedding is about this special time and as long as you support them and you love them, that’s all that matters.  You don’t need to bring up their sex life at his wedding, particularly if it makes you uncomfortable.  They just want your love.

FE: Did he receive that from you?

VS: I got an email from him later, which read that the wedding actually went really, really well, like amazing.

 

INTIMACY AND RELATIONSHIPS

 

FE: Wow, ok, ok.  This next section is on relationships.  What is your sexual orientation?

VS: I’m attracted to women.

FE: All right, and you’ve already made it clear you’re in a relationship, you’re married, you have a wife.  If I may ask, how does your partner identify?

VS: She would identify as a wife.  I mean, from her perspective, she started dating a man and is heterosexual and attracted to males.  So, there is a tension there.  If I ever was to transition full time it would probably become an issue.  But there is a sort of middle ground where she can be more intimate with my male side and have a friendship with my female side.

First of all being able to be vulnerable with someone else increased my sense of intimacy.  I felt I could be more vulnerable because I was sharing a part of myself that I had hidden.  It made me feel more intimate.

I think that sort of works both ways in that we have this trusting relationship where you can just be yourself from a physical and emotional standpoint.

In the end, you are all naked, after all, and your body parts adapt to work with each other.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

There’s lots of ways that you can enjoy yourself and pleasure each other.  We have a very healthy sex life.  Occasional lingerie can make a really big difference and some role playing can make a really, really big difference.  It helps, but it’s still hard sometimes.  I mean that.  Sometimes I think my wife feels that Valorie is stealing away her husband.  She wants to have time with that side and that’s something that’s just not always there.

FE: OK, how did you meet your wife?

VS: We met at work.  The first issue is what we thought was going to be one of the biggest issues.  She’s older than me but it turned out that we were in a similar stage of maturity and we were both thinking of going back to school.  Back in school we had common interests and desires.  So, it really worked out.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

Surprisingly, in some cases, this is not something I intended: she sometimes can be more masculine than I am.  She never wears a skirt or a dress while I am the one trying to avoid wearing pants and wearing makeup all that time.

FE: Intimacy is a multifaceted connection.  Sexual intimacy is just one part of the larger commitment.  How would you describe your physical intimacy with your partner?

VS: No issues, no concerns.  Every now and again, you might have a little bit of a hiccup, but I think that comes across with any relationship.

We have a really good sex life, except for the fact that we’re so busy with work.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

FE: How do you and your partner orgasm?

VS: It’s fairly normal, whatever normal is, it’s pretty diverse.  We have so many different tools and means and ways of orgasming now.  Beyond just masturbation, I mean within the bedroom, you could do role playing and somebody can orgasm.

You can have intercourse and orgasm.  There are so many different ways.  There’s toys.  The shared journey is actually the most important thing.

Foreplay is actually the more enjoyable part of it.  I know people who feel like the most intimate thing is a really good back massage.

There are also many other erogenous zones.  There are some things that are taboo, the prostate being a really good example.

I was more of the virgin in the relationship.  But at the same time I’m the one who pushes us in directions beyond our level of comfort.  Maybe I can get some advice from your website.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

FE: There’s actually a blog that we did on Tantra sex with Debra Stambula and Tracy Gnojek called I’ll Tell You What Freedom Is that you might find to be of help.  While you’re on our blog page check out what else is there because we feature a number of blogs about sexual enhancement.

VS: So you’re correct.  We have this thing in our heads that sometimes part of sex is only getting to this place of climax and that’s not always true.

FE: Right.

VS: It might be worth it at some point for you to interview someone who’s actually going through more of a hormone replacement experience because that does change how everything works.  The ability to be hard is something that’s going to change in you. So, you have to explore other ways.

 

CONCLUSION

 

FE: Ok, so final thoughts.  What are the most important things that you want people to understand about the LGBTQ experience, specifically transgender, for instance: mental health, job security, harassment, bullying, housing and shelter, medical care, public restrooms, law enforcement, abuse and violence?  Details like changing your passport, driver’s license, name changes, etc.  There’s a lot of stuff so pick a few.

VS: As I’ve gone through this journey I recognize that I grew up with and still benefit from a lot of white male privilege.  My support network growing up gave me the opportunity to get the education, the employment that I have today, that many other women and trans women don’t have, particularly trans women of color and women of color.  They don’t have the opportunities that I had.

At the same time, that means that I have an obligation to reach out and help other people who aren’t so lucky.  Society as a whole tends to view trans women as some sort of irrational threat, like it’s a threat to their religion or threat to their identity.  As a result, instead of reaching out to help them, they try to deprive them of benefits and protections, particularly over the last four years, like, a trans woman is not welcome in a women’s homeless shelter because they have too prominent of an Adam’s apple.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

That’s something that was a policy recently and really you’re talking about the most vulnerable people in society who are homeless.  And society says, “ok, you can’t have access to this resource.”  You’re seeing this person and refusing to recognize their journey; identity and you’re imposing your beliefs on them.  As opposed to listening to their feelings and stop making assumptions about their biology.

If you think of the cost of medical procedures, things like breast augmentation or facial surgery or gender confirmation surgery, these are really expensive things.  Often there is a fight to get them covered by medical insurance and insurance is tied to employment and likely the most important things like facial surgery.  For many, facial surgery is as important or more important than bottom surgery since your face is so visible.  It is how everyone judges and consciously or unconsciously groups you.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

So, insurance and health care is such a big issue for society in general, but it’s even more of an issue for transgender people.  It costs between tens and tens of thousands of dollars of what someone might want to do.  People will go work for places like Starbucks just because Starbucks has good health insurance.

Some companies are known to have good health insurance.  But this is a major surgery, major hormone therapy, something that you’re going to have to keep doing for the rest of your life.  For some people, it might be more surgery.  I’m happy with my body right now.  Other people need hormones.  People suffer from severe depression until they go on hormones, until they transition and then their depression goes away.

FE: Well, one of the items that I had brought up was the public restrooms.  Have you ever had any issues with public restrooms?

VS: No, but it’s a very sensitive topic.  The closest I can think of were times where I’ve been going out to Vegas, fifteen years ago, and would go on a limo tour then all exit into a casino and there would be like a hundred transwomen all descending in on the restrooms in a casino at once.  That would be crazy no matter who it was.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

I understand why women may sometimes feel uncomfortable, but, if that person was to go use the other bathroom, it would create even more of an uproar.

If I went into a men’s restroom looking like this it is going to cause a scene.

FE: Right.  Do you think that scene would be more talk or that it could lead to violence or something?

VS: I think it could lead to violence.  I think usually when you talk about restroom situations, the person who’s the victim of the violence is the transgender person.  It’s not the other way around.  There’s this myth of men who are dressing up as women just to go in and perform violence on women.  This is usually the talking point on the right wing, that these are predators who are dressing up as women to go in and prey on people in bathrooms.

And that’s why we must have this bathroom legislation.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

FE: Right.  That’s crazy.  I mean, if someone wanted to go after women there are a lot easier ways for them to do it.  Why would they have to go through the process of putting on stuff just to go in there and do that.

VS: You’re typically going into the bathroom with all the basic bodily functions to do what you have to do.  You have no choice.  My general approach is if I’m going into the bathroom, I’m going to go in there, do my business and get out of there.  I’m not going to make drama.

And really, the trans women are usually just as vulnerable as other women.

If they were to go into a men’s restroom, then they’d be opening themselves up to a level of sexual assault as well.

FE: What are the biggest misconceptions most people have when it comes to Trans or the LGBT community?

Val: People tend to want to apply labels and assume everyone is the same.  I don’t think that’s true.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

Gender and sex are different things so, let people express themselves and just respect them.  It doesn’t hurt to ask for people’s experience.  It shows that you try not to stereotype your own beliefs on them.

There is an innate human tendency to define artificial categories: us/them, male/female, white/black.  Everyone has a right to find their own identity and journey to happiness.  It isn’t going to always fit into a nice box.  Unlike what JK Rowling claimed, women are not simply defined by their ability to give birth.  There are many natural born women who can’t or choose not to do that.  Gender is emotional, connecting mind and body with the rest of society.  If you define gender simply based on biology or a medical procedure you are creating an arbitrary distinction that will never fit everyone.

FE: Yes.  One question I hadn’t asked you. Just a fun question at the end.  But before that, what societal changes do you believe are essential to enhancing the humanity rights and protections for LGBTQ people?

VS: Mostly, I think to treat humans as equal.  It’s something that people have trouble doing.

 

THE JOY OF POLING

 

FE: Yes, I love your answer.  Ok, for fun, as you mentioned earlier you’re a pole dancer. What was it like to join that particular sport or community?  What did it take for you to emotionally step out in the public eye as a pole dancer and how did it change your life?

VS: I love this question.  Pole dancing has been one of the best things that has happened to me.  It helped me express myself, express my femininity and define myself.  I’ve been dancing for 10 years now.  My first time was with a bunch of girlfriends for my 30th birthday.

Joining Secret Studio was a turning point in how accepting everyone was and is a sisterhood.  Going to recitals and being with a group of people/women dancing together, I felt like I was a cheerleader in high school.  I didn’t get to have that experience and now I was getting to have that camaraderie.  Everything that goes along with that is fantastic.  Pole dancing to me is very much about developing a positive body image, which people tend to not associate with when they think of pole dancers as being a sexual thing and the same with strippers.

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

But at least in Secret’s’ community, it was very much about it doesn’t matter what size you are, what shape you are, the color of your skin, just feeling sexy and positive in expressing yourself.  Given the transition that I’m going through, it was just the right message that I needed to get to that point.  It also means that it helps the that pole is very athletic, so you’re also getting in really good shape, feeling really comfortable in your own skin and looking good at it.

It has been a really supportive community.  One of my favorite things that I miss the most is Venus’s Pandora’s Box series.  That was actually getting into what felt like therapy.  You would dance out the stress of whatever you were going through in the day and freestyle it out.  Girls would pole dance about battling cancer and dancing about depression that they were going through.  I could pole dance about my identity, like I did a routine to a song by Shea Diamond, who is this amazing black female transgender singer.

I actually did that pole dance at competitions in Northern California and Golden State.  You can express an awful lot of stuff and that’s what’s so amazing!

 

Understanding A Gender Fluid Life w/ Valorie Sapphire

 

FE is so very grateful to Val Sapphire for sharing her story.  It’s rare you get someone to be so transparent and honest about their personal life in this manner.  Again, thank you Val.

Here is a video of Val Sapphire competing at the PSO PPC 2017.

If you’d like to follow and/or reach out to Valorie Sapphire, her contact information is as follows:

twitter: valsapphire