Tune in each Tuesday in May for #TellUsAboutIt Tuesday where we will check back in with a few individuals who participated in last year’s Let’s Face It campaign and learn about their experience as well as what they’ve been up to since participating in the campaign.  

This Tuesday, we’re checking in with Ym, you can read Ym’s story from last year’s campaign here: https://www.mhconn.org/blog/may9/

Ym was asked to be a part of the [Let’s Face It] campaign through some of the other participants last year. They saw all the range of things that people were choosing to talk about, “everything was really beautiful and important,” she said, “and I didn’t really hear anyone talking about transness or queerness.”

At the juncture that the campaign was coming up last year, Ym had been just on the cusp of beginning farther reaching aspects of their own transition, “I thought it was a good moment and a good platform to not only add to the conversation, but also to challenge myself, to be genuine and honest and just talk about my experience,” she said, “I was hoping that maybe if there’s anyone listening who is like me in any capacity, they find some kinship. Or, if there’s anyone who knows no one like me, or knows nothing about transness or queerness, that they have a moment to listen, and to reconsider any misconceptions out there or in their heads.”

Last year, Ym appeared on the WTNH8 segment to share a bit about their story, “It’s a pretty cool opportunity to come out and be open on the Monday morning news. It’s quite the ‘gender reveal,'” she admitted. Ym said they were nervous to have that dialogue in such a public facing sphere, “I also thought it was important for me personally that as I’m transitioning, as I was working on getting comfortable in my body that I had this opportunity to be really honest and not only face the world, but face myself.”

In the line of work Ym does with music and performing, they’re familiar with radio and television interviews, “this felt like the most intimate, the most personal interview experience that I’ve ever had. It felt kind of like slaying a dragon,” Ym said, “where I had to get past myself, I had to work through some of my childhood nerves and concerns, I had to like call my therapist up and be like, ‘okay I agreed to something and I’m not ready so, we need to do some real work.’”

Ym ultimately decided it was important to show up for the kid that needed to be showed up for, and be the form of support, “it felt important to me now on my journey to being more comfortable with myself,” they said, “but it felt most important to be honest for that kid that did not have that space or support to be honest when they were trying to figure it out. When they were very alone and trying to work through this.”

The month after the interview, in June, Ym met someone who they’ve been seeing for the past year, “It has been a very meaningful, loving relationship that I wouldn’t trade for the world and it’s nice to have that partnership in this transition,” they said.

Photo Credit: Edward Larose

Ym has found the queer community she always dreamed of, “I’ve never really lived with a partner before and we’re kind of doing that in our queer community. My partner also lives with their partner in a polycule, meaning there’s a multitude of kinds of people in this household,” she said, “the three of them have very much so welcomed me into their home and that’s been really fulfilling.”

I’ve always had a very strong relationship with music. I’ve documented my life my emotions my questions throughout music so it’s been nice to not only write and create music about the transitional experience but also write them about love and the hardships and how those things cross over.” Ym says they’ve been making a lot of different beautiful music for the last year and they plan to release sometime this year.

In the past year Ym has done a lot of self-reflection, “I’ve had some clinical psych evaluations and I’ve come to learn about some of my own mental illnesses like anxiety the depression, BPD, all sorts of things that will help me be like a better friend and partner and person to myself,” they said.

Along with self-reflection, Ym has spent a lot of time reflecting on society as a whole, “a part of my story last year was that I was talking for the kid in me, I was trying to tell the story of feeling alone and isolated and, and how affirming and lifesaving my transition has been,” Ym said, “Now, as we talk about and Mental Health Awareness Month, we simultaneously have anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation being brought to the senate to the house and being passed into law.”

Ym speaks frankly about the wave of fear and misconceptions of people being themselves, “even in the realities of these bills and legislations, they seem to so easily ignore the parent learning and growing with their kid, the kid being able to trust their parent, they ignore the research and data from doctors, therapists and endocrinologists; all the sorts of systems in place that have done the work to look at how gender affirming medicine can be so impactful and can make such a difference.”

Ym acknowledges that it feels hard to talk about mental health awareness and not also acknowledge the systemic issues that are impacting the ability for someone to take care of their mental health, “There are parts of the world doing a lot of harm as they hinder people from trying to take care of themselves, from letting parents try everything that they need to give a shot to be there for that kid, that same kid that I was talking about last year,” says Ym, “That same kid that was lucky enough to survive this long, to have the opportunity that so many humans in their lives that do not get the chance to because they are not allowed to advocate for themselves, to be heard, to say who they are and to actually be believed.”

Ym remains hopeful that a year from now, we’ll be in a better place governmentally and systemically.