For Jacob Tobia, identity is an on-going process. It cannot be contained in a single moment of “coming out of the closet” or choosing a label. Instead, it’s something that unfurls over the course of a lifetime.
“I didn’t come out as gay and then my whole life was fine,” said Tobia, 25, who uses the pronouns they/them. “I didn’t start using the word ‘queer’ and then my whole life made sense. It didn’t even fix everything when I started calling myself trans. It was a gradual process, it was bit by bit, moment by moment.”
Tobia, a LGBTQ rights activist and writer, sat down with Cosmopolitan.com to discuss their journey of self-love and identifying as genderqueer. It all began when they were just a newborn. “My life was perfect for about three seconds, until the nurse looked down and said that it’s a boy,” Tobia said. From a young age, they said they knew that “the way people were treating me was wrong. What people expected of me, was wrong. What they said I could or could not do, was wrong.”
As Tobia progressed through life, figuring out their sexual and gender identity, from gay to queer to genderqueer, they ultimately realized that who they were was “part of this magical brilliant, trans umbrella.”
Now as a confident adult, Tobia knows what they would say to their younger self: “You owe it to yourself to be patient with yourself, and to be patient with people around you.”