INSPIRATION AND ADVICE
TANYA COMPAS: PROUD TOGETHER
23 June 2020
Today on the mic is Tanya Compas (pronouns: she/her) – an award-winning youth-worker and founder of organisations like Queer Black Christmas and Exist Loudly.
Our very rigid view, understanding and documentation of what ‘makes a woman’ and the narrative of womanhood, is often very CIS, heteronormative and feminine. But this view completely erases and negates the existence and experiences of women who are masculine, woman who are fluid in their expression, queer women and trans women. Discovering my queerness meant I was finally ready to give myself the permission to explore who I was and most importantly rediscover my style after years of performative femininity and one too many uncomfortable pairs of heels.
I experienced homelessness in 2019 and left home with only a duffel bag of clothes. As sad as it may seem, in a weird way, it was liberating. I stuffed my duffel bag with my tracksuits and left everything else at my family home – meaning, when I finally got housed again, I started my wardrobe from fresh. I began buying men’s clothing and exploring the difference in menswear and the sizes it comes in now. It was daunting, because it’s a whole different ball game from when I was a 10-year-old tomboy who bought tracksuits from Nike.