Interview: Diab

Name: Diab

Location: New South Wales

Age: 27

At what age did you first realise that you were androgynous?

From as young as I can remember I have always gravitated to elements of both genders. I never understood why, and still don’t, that certain characteristics are labelled as male and the others as female. I don’t understand why the western world seems to be the most progressive, but in in other ways most rapidly regressive when it comes to gender, gender roles and gender definitions.

Have your family and friends always been supportive?

No. I hold no animosity as I am aware of the circumstances to which I grew up. There is not many, if any, and certainly not in the 80’s and 90’s, figureheads of normality within this “androgynous” world. It can be closely related to sexuality in the sense that it is not a choice, you are being who you are without thought and reason. To the outside it seems weird and almost as an attack on others. When everyone realised I was simply being myself and never intended harm, they have become my greatest defenders.

How has your past shaped who you are today?

I am one of those rare cases where I think that it hasn’t. I am incredibly blessed to simply not care what others think. As someone who is bullied daily for simply being who I am, you would be shocked to find I am probably the happiest person you will meet. I do recall jumping to the defence of others in my teen years so that I could take the brunt of the attack to protect those without as strong a will, as quite simply, words can’t harm me. Perhaps it has made me empathise with others.

Do you think that the world have become more accepting and welcoming to androgynous people in more modern times or do you feel that there is still a long way to go?

There is a MASSIVE way to go but sadly, only in my late 20’s have I noticed a change. I am happy that when I am out I don’t see queer youth being bullied as readily as I did when I was younger and I would like to think that in some small way, I helped in desensitising the world to the obscure and allowed people to see others for who they are and not their shell.

Have you ever experienced discrimination in your life because of your androgyny?

Every day. People simply don’t understand. To be honest I truly pity them. Those who seek pleasure through the pain of others are the true victim. Their inner turmoil is far worse than any attack they can inflict on another.

Who was your favourite character to play in your acting career and why

His name was James. It was actually an awareness piece to raise money for aged care and the living conditions of the elderly. Two “troubled” teens were paired up with senior citizens to help them become more productive members of society. Whilst one of the teens was troubled, James was simply a queer teen who liked colour and eyeliner. He was a happy-go-lucky kid with a thirst for knowledge and loved all those who crossed his path. I was left bouncing off the walls after playing him from the sheer energy he left with me. He also highlighted how youth who are different, even slightly, are “troubled”, when perhaps all they need is an ear to listen; only then will you see that you are the one who is truly troubled for seeing any difference in them.

You have been approached by gay youth looking for advice. What would you say to someone out there who is struggling with their own sexuality or coming out as gay or androgynous or who is been bullied or discriminated against because of who they are?

ALL THE TIME! I am actually glad that they came to me as I function without judgement. Too many times have I witnessed destructive behaviour within the queer community when one is reaching for support. Unfortunately this ideal of being a “bitch” and “fierce” is prevalent within the community and only harms all involved as it breeds a new generation of homophobia, even seen within the community. What I would say is just be yourself, as long as you are not harming yourself or others. Sure some might get angry, but it is their issues coming to the fore. Take your time and explore, find who you really are as often too many follow a cookie cutter image of what a “role” is supposed to be and lose any sense of who they really are. Time is also an important factor to those in your life and you need to be sensitive to their issues and concerns as you would hope them to be with yours. Rather than rocking up in “drag” one day for example, ease them into the role, or invite them to a performance or social gathering, let them see it is who you are and that you are truly happy. Where you expect respect, you need to give it to receive it and not demand it. Life is here to be lived, you only get one so you should be true to yourself and remember, words can’t hurt you, you only allow them to. And for those who wish to debate that point, if I punched you in the face that would hurt without choice, I am living, breathing proof that you and only you allow words to cause you harm. Others have opinions and they are entitled to them, so really, leave it with them and let them harm themselves with negativity.

Has your journey affected your relationships? In what way?

No. If anything I have more respect for them as they grew and accepted me. I come from a very open world but in many ways it has been closed. I have unconditional love from people who would have initially hated others who are like me. Now they see that our shell does not dictate the person within. They changed who they are to accommodate who I am and in turn others. How can that not be a good thing and how can I not be grateful?

Have you ever been in love?

Yes. The love I have felt is the deepest, unconditional love in the world from those who have truly seen me as who I am. Even if it took some time.

Are you married? If so, what was your wedding day like? If not would you like to get married someday?

I like to think that I will, but even as a teen I never saw it happening… I have a fascination with divorce! Let your first marriage set you up for the rest! In all seriousness I think dedicating yourself to one being for the rest of your life is one of the most beautiful things that we as a soul can do. Do I see it happening for me in a marital sense? I’m not sure.

Are you a father? If so, what does fatherhood mean to you? If not would you like to be a father someday?

I’m an uncle and I can honestly say I have taken the ideals I would as a father and placed them on my kids (to which I refer to them). I know because of people like me, that they will enter a world free of judgement and I say that as I have grown with them when they have experienced the conflict of what “boys and girls are meant to do”. Sure it might not be completely dissolved, but it is one step to a better world in which we are meant to live; Embracing the differences in us all as we are all unique, no matter how hard we try to conform, and we can all learn so much from every person we meet.

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