GENDERFLUID, PERFORMER, ADVOCATE
Some things are constant for sophomore dramaturgy and theater studies major Tk Mays, like performing and their obsession with mermaids. But one thing that changes every day is their gender. Mays identifies as genderfluid, meaning some days they feel more masculine and others more feminine.
Mays began posting on Facebook their “gender of the day” to inform people of what pronouns to use.
“It depends on what I’m feeling for the day and I feel like it’s a lot easier on other people if I post [it] because there’s not that awkward ‘Oh you called me a boy but I’m not,’” Mays says.
Sometimes, Mays likes to express themself with makeup. On other days, if they look at makeup it makes them feel uncomfortable. They also struggle with body dysphoria — a condition where one experiences discomfort or distress due to an inconsistency of their biological sex and gender identity.
“I don’t typically feel [discomfort] unless I’m around babies or children because in my head I know I’ll never be able to produce a child inside of me,” Mays says. “That’s the only part where I just really get upset and hurt.”
Originally Mays wasn’t planning on attending college. However, since they decided to enroll at Webster, they have been involved in many clubs including cheerleading, Residence Hall Association (RHA), new student orientation and Gorlok Guides. Last semester, Mays was known for walking around campus with a pineapple for a week.
“It’s really cute and quirky and no one would think of a pineapple,” Mays says. “I particularly like pineapples. I have an obsession with mermaids and pineapples are tropical which makes me feel [connected to them].”
Ever since the first High School Musical movie came out, they have been interested in performing. Mays attended performing arts middle and high schools, and has always been involved in theater.
Mays performed in the Rocky Horror Picture Show show last year with the club PING: A Performing Arts Collective.
“As long as I’m a part of [theater], I’m happy,” Mays says.
In five years, Mays will be freshly out of college and hoping to move to California to teach theater at a performing arts school. Their dream job is to open up their own performing arts center.
“There’s so many people who can’t follow their passions just because it’s not a real job and not going to get you anywhere,” Mays says. “I want them to have that place where they can express themselves.”
Mays encourages others to be more aware of genderfluid people in their lives.
“Over anything else, always make sure to ask people [their pronouns],” Mays says. “Nowadays people are getting a lot more expressive with their gender and there are a lot of people that don’t know and they just assume [pronouns].”
Story by Melissa Buelt
Photos by Wil Driscoll