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Happy Hippie Presents #InstaPride: Tyler

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How old are you?

Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in NYC, raised in Boca Raton, FL, and now I’m back in NYC.

How would you describe yourself?
I am a young galaxy.

What do you do for a living?
I am a freelance writer, LGBTQA consultant, model, and will soon have my own T-shirt company!

What do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I write poetry, read, sing, and walk through parks. I love to learn and am constantly teaching myself something or working on creative tasks.

Do you have any hidden talents/random fun facts about yourself?
I am a karaoke superhero. I know every lyric, all of the background vocals, and every ad-lib to every song that you think you know, but end up giving up on halfway through.

If you could karaoke one song, what would it be and why?
ONE song? How about the entire 90’s pop catalog? (A recent go-to of mine is Beyoncé’s “Drunk In Love.”)

When was a moment in your life that you felt really free to be yourself?
I feel most free to be myself when I am alone, when I am writing, when I am in nature, when I am singing, and sometimes when I am with a few great friends.

Tell us about how you identify yourself.
I am a queer, biracial, agender person. My pronouns are they/them/theirs.

What is a challenge you’ve faced when it comes to your gender identity?
My whole life, I was led to believe that there were only two genders. I thought I had to shrink myself to fit into a box that was never going to contain me. It took years for me to find words for my gender identity, and to feel comfortable expressing myself as I am.

What is a common misconception or question you encounter about your gender?
“Are you a boy or a girl?” is definitely the most common question. “No” is my answer. A common misconception: people think that having intimate knowledge of my body will give them knowledge about who I am, or worse, what they describe as my “real” gender. I am agender. My body is not guarding a secret, and people’s assumptions about and projections onto my body will never reveal more truth than my words.

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What does support and acceptance mean to you?
Support and acceptance means respecting and loving me for exactly who I am. Support and acceptance manifests itself through:

  • Listening to the experiences, thoughts, and feelings of marginalized people around you
  • Reflecting on what you’ve heard and read; challenging your own assumptions; unlearning harmful ideas about sex, gender, race, stereotypes, etc.; and making room in your heart and mind for possibilities and experiences you hadn’t previously considered
  • Acting on what you’ve learned to make the world around you a safer space for marginalized people
What was your favorite part about the Happy Hippie shoot?

My favorite part of the shoot was experimenting with outfits, poses, and shots with Miley. I felt incredibly comfortable with her behind the camera, and she couldn’t have nailed my style or expression better.

What are you hopeful about in the next year – both personally and when it comes to LGBT rights?

I’m looking forward to my growth as a person and as a writer. I recently quit my day job to pursue writing and other freelance gigs full-time, and I am both proud of my hustle as well as looking forward to what the next year will bring! As far as LGBTQA issues are concerned, I hope that trans people – particularly trans women of color – will have better access to the resources they need to survive and thrive. 

What is some advice you have for someone who is exploring their gender identity or transitioning?
You don’t have to adhere to anyone’s ideals but your own. Take your time exploring your identity and figuring out what works for you. There is no right or wrong way to be transgender. Make your own path.
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