Flashes of pride: McGirr

Carrie George

Junior pre-med psychology major Avery McGirr recalled boarding an elevator their freshman year, lost and nervous to attend their first Trans*Fusion meeting.

“I was terrified,” McGirr said. “I didn’t know where I was going; I was so obviously a freshman it hurt.”

Now, two years later, McGirr is the president of Trans*Fusion and proud of their gender and sexual identity.

“I always get caught up when I try to describe my group,” McGirr said. “There’s almost no words to describe it, because it’s like a feeling to me. It means so much to me.”

In their junior year of high school, McGirr came out as nonbinary after their friend came out as a trans man.

“I remember because I had long hair, and I just hated it,” McGirr said. “When I chopped it off to the length that I have now, it was so much better; it was so liberating. I felt like I could finally be myself.”

McGirr struggled with gender dysphoria, a feeling of discomfort usually involving conflict with a person’s assigned gender.

“It’s different for everybody,” McGirr said. “I don’t like society to see me as female, so I usually reject most feminine things.”

McGirr described their dysphoria as social dysphoria, meaning they feel most uncomfortable in large-scale events where a large group of people might perceive them as female.

Alongside their gender identity, McGirr also identifies as grey-ace/romantic, meaning McGirr belongs to the ace or asexual and aromantic community.

“The gray part means I have periods of asexuality, but I also have periods of normal sexuality,” McGirr said. “It kind of fluctuates.”

McGirr searched through many different labels to describe their identity before finally finding the term that fit best.

“I knew that there was the term asexual, but I didn’t identify as asexual because I wasn’t completely asexual,” McGirr said. “I didn’t know of the prefix grey until much later on, until I got into the LGBTQ community, until I got to college.”

When they discovered the word for their identity, McGirr said they felt a huge sense of belonging.

“Being a part of the ace community, at least partially, is prideful,” McGirr said. “It makes me happy to be a part of that because I’ve found myself. I’ve found my identity.”

Around age 13, McGirr started realizing that they fit somewhere in the LGBTQ community. They recalled their mother “forcing” them to come out.

“My mom and I didn’t entirely get along for a little bit when I was younger just because she thought being gay was wrong,” McGirr said.

McGirr said their mother asked one day, “Are you gay?” and McGirr said, “Yes,” then quickly ran away.

A few years later, around 16-years-old, McGirr came out again, this time revealing their gender identity.

“(It) was a really awkward conversation. She did not understand it at all,” McGirr said. “Then we fought again for a little while. She called me ‘it’ when she got drunk a couple of times.”

McGirr and their mother continued fighting, they said, until their aunt visited and “knocked some sense” into McGirr’s mother.

“She was like, ‘Your kid’s going to leave if you don’t straighten up.’” McGirr said.

Since then, McGirr and their mother have been close. She even came with McGirr to visit Kent and the LGBTQ Center in the spring before their first semester of classes.

“The main reason why I came to Kent was actually the LGBTQ culture of the campus,” McGirr said.

As president of Trans*Fusion, McGirr has seen the organization grow and change since their freshman year.

“It’s like family almost,” McGirr said. “It’s been there since the beginning. I describe it like a home away from home.”

Carrie George is the is the administration and diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected].