My name is Pruwuit Yautdinova.

My only tribulation is that I am not Black enough. Growing up, I was often bullied for my Blackness. For having different features. My large almond shaped eyes and long nose. My large lips could kiss the face of a thousand woman, man, and child who bestowed me in my naked vulnerability.

I was bullied for being too skinny as a boy. My teachers would publicly pull me aside during class to ask me if everything was okay at home. If I was eating enough. People had no sense of etiquette to realize it was simply my genetics.

I find it blatantly comical now that I am an adult and more Non-Binary in appearance, that I am constantly told of how beautiful and sexy I am because I appear more feminine.

The same women who once told me they wished they were as skinny as I am, are now the ones who compete against me. Who are angry with me for creating space within myself, for myself. The same men who bullied me for being different, who treated me like a plague for my questioning sexuality, are now the same men who message me wanting sex. How I make them hard because of my femininity and they know I must have a large PEN15 because I’m black. It’s supposed to be, you know, “The best quality for a Black man to have”. They have no realization that I’m the same person who they tormented. And you know, it’s always been my favorite kind of sex to be more complex. It’s my unvarnished truth knowing I may destroy my youth. To soothe the hunters that prick my spine of fluidity…

For several years now I have been pursuing a career in modeling.

Recently I moved to New York from California on my own in hopes of pursuing things more seriously and making a difference. A “friend” of mine that I met through Instagram had their own agency. We spoke for months about working together and even discussed the process of things and the contract. They made several dates to meet with me in person. They ghosted me every time, then would bring up random conversation’s days later without apology, or even any sense of remembrance for their previous scheduling. They finally began ignoring me completely, and then gaslighted me. I have been told by many agents that they cannot offer “any form of representation to someone of my background” or even that they “are not interested in representing a cross gender model”. I have even been told that I am a shame to the black community, that I deserve everything that has ever happened to me. That I deserved to die. My only reason for wanting to model is to focus on Body and Gender Equality issues within society and the industry. To bring awareness to racial injustice. To end the harmful colloquiums of what is meant to be a man or woman.

A month after I turned 20 years old, I was raped by a friend of mine.

I’m 23 years now, and to this day, I can still remember everything.

The wine we had, how his apartment looked. The tv in his room and his bedsheets. After it happened, I went into a sense of denial. I didn’t accept it for what it was. I denied the existence that it happened, and I went on with normal life for a few months. Then I went into shock. I became angry at everyone. Strangers. Friends. Family. I could barely hug my little sister without shaking and wanting to push her away. When I finally tried speaking about what was done to me, most people only targeted me. “Well you’re a boy, you weren’t strong enough to defend yourself? “It’s probably because of how you dress. You were asking for it”. It really hit me hard for a very long time…

I am writing these words now not for you to pity me. But to bring awareness to society. The truth.

This is the real world. My words are not meant to scare you. I simply wish for your well-being. To comfort others and encourage others to remember the importance of self-love and self-care. Many, like myself may have very little understanding or a template for which to love ourselves or others anymore.

    For some of us, loving ourselves means abuse.

And I will speak defensively in stating that learning to love myself has been a process and a challenge, one of which I have failed countless times, to hurt, mistake, grieve. And learning to not feel guilty for moving away from situations or people which do not bring me comfort nor peace. Although I had a latitude for love, it was often difficult to transmute such a being that I did not fully have within myself.

I’ve learned now the power of my perspective experience.

Though being vulnerable is quite a difficulty for me still, I am learning to share in hopes my words can be offered for the betterment of others. I have used my social media as a means to not only pursue my career in modeling, but to offer guidance. To offer a voice that will listen. To create a safe space for others who have suffered through the same ideals. I hope to be a home for many. I will do what I can.

~ Pruwuit Yautdinova