When I was in High School, I went to a school that was very close to the National Museum in Rome. Entrance to the museum was free for underage people, so I spent lot of time in there - I was a quiet, shy kid, with almost no friends at all. I would wander around and look at the statues. Sometimes I would sit down and write, or draw. There was this particular statue that I loved - it is called ‘Sleeping Hermaphroditus’ and it is a depiction of Greek deity Hermaphroditus, who was both a male and a female. What’s peculiar with this statue is that, depending on the position you’re looking at it from, it may look like a male, or like a female.
I remember being completely fascinated with this statue. I would spend hours just walking around it, trying all the angles. I thought it was possibly one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. In a way, it spoke to me - it made me happy, it made me feel at peace. It felt right, and so very beautiful.
Thinking about it now, I wonder if this may have somewhat to do with my being bigendered. I wonder if I loved this statue so much because it showed me a being that was both male and female in the most beautiful, armonious, easy way, and so it called to a difficult aspect of my personality that I wasn’t even aware of. I wonder how would I feel if I went to see it now that I know.
It also makes me think - it should be like this. It should be beautiful; it should be harmonious. It should be easy. Right now, for me, it isn’t. But I still hope that someday I may be like that statue. I can hope that someday, someone will be able to look at me from an angle, and see me as a male; then from another, and see me as a female; and maybe - just maybe - still find me beautiful.
I can live with that hope.
So, maybe this statue spoke to me of that hope even when I wasn’t aware that I needed it. But now I know and that is why this particular memory is so very precious to me.
I remember thinking that part of the beauty of that figure was in how confident it felt. Still sleeping while everyone was watching - exposed, yet not at all vulnerable; not afraid, not ashamed. Right now, I’m not like that. I’m still afraid of speaking about my gender identity, I’ve only recently started to show it in public. I still can’t stand the thought of people seeing me completely for what I am.
Unlike the person portrayed by that statue, I’m not out and proud. But I’m out, at last. And I intend to stay there.
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