April 22, Earth Day, a blastly blue sky and a few miles of rocky mountains leading to a breathtaking view of Boston's skyline. That’s all we could ask for. When I suggested the date, everything seemed to fit like a glove, from the abundance of “twos” (her favorite number) to the actual meaning of the day, with which she feels deeply connected.
Now that you're all situated with the scenario, let’s introduce our model: Chrystian Dennis, 30 years old, born and raised in Massachusetts with a Cape Verdean’s heritage from her father’s side. Entrepreneur, artist, model and visual architect. Also a traveler to both her inner and outside world.
Growing up, gender and sexuality weren’t really discussed subjects in her family. Even though she was surrounded by some LGBTQIA+ friends, it wasn’t something her family openly talked about. So when Chrystian had her first experience dating a same sex partner, it was challenging for them to understand her sexuality or her orientation, which intrigued her, since when it comes to a heterosexual person nobody really seems to inquire what they do in their intimate world.
At the time, the best word Chrystian could find to describe herself was fluid, as someone who’s not set to stay towards a specific gender box or group, but yes to connect with whoever her energy is attracted to at the moment, which can also change from time to time. For her, it was defiant to observe that children can often be taught to grow up to have their own views and opinions and make their own choices, but are not allowed the same autonomy when it comes to their personal life.
Chrystian grew up as what people would call a tomboy. Usually dressed in baggy clothes, presenting some sort of masculine demeanor. As a kid, she used to feel inspired by people like Aaliyah, American singer who would go up on stage wearing the whole getup of what society thought a guy would wear. Nowadays, while revisiting these memories, Chrystian realizes that in order for Aaliyah to show her creativity, she most certainly had to shop from the men’s section. But why is there such a thing as men’s section or woman’s section anyway?
Chrystian comprehends the origin and purpose of the categories and labels surrounding the LGBTQIA+ world, but she believes that in some ways they cause more separation than ensure protection. The way she sees it, the heterosexual world - where we genderize everything, like colors, clothing, toys, accessories etc. - pretty much created the problem, causing people to feel left out, inadequate, not fitting in, and then attacked (and keeps attacking) these same people for trying to feel seen.
Chrystian believes that if we just respected all beings for what they are, the way they dress and present themselves to the world, and also if we gave them the freedom to love whoever they want, maybe we wouldn’t need so many boxes, we would just be.
Trying to summarize her point of view in very few words, we shouldn’t have gender on much of anything other than our energy, considering there’s feminine and masculine energy in everyone. We just need to be free to find our own balance, which doesn’t have to be stiff either.
“Accept people, mind your business and love love”. With that quote from Chrystian, we finished our chat and walked down the hill. :)