We hope your Pride Month has been filled with love 🏳️‍🌈

This week, we continue our efforts to honour the resilience, diversity and strength of the LGBTQIA+ community. While most today are able to live as they are, we acknowledge how patterns and systems of oppression and discrimination have long stripped the LGBTQIA+ community of their freedom and rights.

We have always believed that every individual deserves the freedom to be their truest selves – to live freely and openly express who they are regardless of their ideologies, traditions, culture or environment. That is why we want to take the time to share stories from our Circle to honour their courage and authenticity in hopes of inspiring and empowering others.

We’re connecting with Toshiro (@toshirogohma) to uncover what Pride means to them and how they have grown to embrace their unique self.

Toshiro (he/they) is a special effects makeup artist for Film and Television. Growing up in a small town, Toshiro was unaware of alternative expressions and styles which led him to believe that he had to conform to the mainstream. But after leaving home, meeting like-minded people and discovering body modification, Toshiro learnt what it meant to express his inner self on his own terms. Here’s what else he had to share:


Q: How are you feeling about this upcoming Pride Month? What does Pride Month mean for you? 

I am quite excited about this year's Pride Month since I'll be working with the Pride Parade in Berlin, Germany for the first time. I usually stay away from Pride events since I am quite an introvert and don't feel comfortable in crowded places but whenever I do attend Pride events I of course take full advantage of their media coverage to voice issues our LGBTQIA+ community still faces all around the world. Since a total of 71 nations still have laws against homosexuality, it is our duty to speak up and march the streets. We have to fight for a more inclusive, diverse and kind world and I am optimistic that we can achieve that one day. 


Q: Describe a story or situation where you felt most authentically yourself for the first time.

I’ve always struggled with my body image but since I started to get bigger tattoos I like my body more and more. I never liked my human shell so decorating it with tattoos, piercings, creative outfits and makeup is healing to me. I first started to feel authentically myself in my mid twenties when I started my body modification journey, realising that I can alter my body to make it match how I feel on the inside. 


Q: Can you share a bit about your journey to finding self-love? How have you grown from five years ago to today? 

Growing up in a heteronormative society which forces you to adhere to the binary, I never understood why my identity and its expression had to be put in a certain box. I always fought against gender roles and could not understand why the world has to be black and white. I was born and raised in a small town in northern Germany with literally zero exposure to alternative queer creatives. My journey of self-love started once I left my home country, explored the world and finally met people like me. 


Q: How do you think wearing jewellery helps someone in expressing themselves and their identity?

As an amab nonbinary entity, jewellery has helped me loads to explore my masculinity and especially my femininity in a binary world. I’ve always loved accessorising myself as a kid with my mother’s jewellery and got really excited when I was in the position to get my own jewellery. Moreso nowadays, being more selective with jewellery and really knowing myself and my style, it is always a beautiful ritual for me to put on the right earrings, necklaces or rings before I leave the house. 


Q: Is there a specific piece of jewellery when you were young that impacted your style or identity? 

There is indeed! My sister gave me a sterling silver pentacle necklace and ring as a talisman on my 15th birthday as a symbol of the element of earth to protect me and keep me on the ground. I believe that it protects me. I have not taken it off since I got it. You can see it on every single picture or video of me on social media, It’s always there. I love it so much and have quite a sentimental connection to it. 


Q: Is there any other message you’d like to share?

I want you (yes YOU, specifically) to know that you are enough, you are loved and I am proud of you.

 

Hear from Toshiro himself:

 

@askandembla Living authentically with Toshiro ✨ #askandembla #pride #foryourpride #PrideMonth #bi #gay #pridemonth🏳️‍🌈 #pridemonth2022 #altfyp #altstyle ♬ Hit the Back - King Princess

 

 

In our fight for equality, it is important that we make efforts to contribute and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. That is why for the month of June, we will be donating a portion of all sales to the Trevor Project.

With our donation, we hope to contribute to The Trevor Project’s work through advocacy, research, public education and provision of support services to help LGBTQIA+ youth navigate topics like mental health, sexual orientation and gender identity in a safe space.

You can find out more about The Trevor Project here or check out last week’s catch-up with @devilesu here.