Loveis Wise (they/he)

Artist, Shapeshifter, & Podcast Host of Exquisite Humans

Los Angeles, CA

How would you describe your identities?

I usually describe myself as a Black, Queer, Transmasc Lesbian existing beyond binaries.

Ambiguous Beauty celebrates those who identify and express themselves through masculine and feminine energies. Please share a bit about your journey to self-discovery. Did you ever feel like you had to choose one or the other (masculine vs feminine)?

The origin of this awareness of myself began a few years ago when I was learning more about the non-binary experience by way of loved ones and it deeply resonated with me. Before, I always felt out of place performing femininity at my center as an AFAB (a female at birth) person and felt that a part of my growth and changes meant expanding outside of the spectrum of what I understood what gender(or a lack thereof) could be. My transition meant I could be all of it at once and that felt much more expansive.

What has been the most significant challenge you have experienced in expressing masculine and feminine traits?

I think it has been how I'm perceived by folks outside of my community and my family at times. I've had moments where folks have projected their stories of who I was because of previous ways I've existed, being feminine and also how I present as a trans-masc person who is also in touch with their femininity. This challenge has catalyzed me further in exploring my own gender norms and learning how to dive deeper into my imagination and self creation, because we create ourselves.

Have you ever experienced rejection or discrimination due to this expression?

Absolutely, I think some folks have their own myths about trans folks and what gender expression can be. I've been in spaces where men have tried to challenge me or felt threatened by my androgyny/masculinity especially when I've had to protect my friends/loved ones who were experiencing misogyny and objectification.

At some point in our journeys, we come to a place of self-acceptance. When did you come to understand who you are and that you were beautiful?

Honestly, it truly began when I started HRT(hormone replacement therapy) and discovered different ways to explore my identity outside of just my external shifts, like getting top surgery and the many ways HRT changed my body. I was able to understand more about my desires to expand myself and love myself more deeply.

What is your experience in the workplace? Have your identities helped or hindered your career opportunities?

Because I freelance and work remotely this hasn't affected my career as a hindrance but it has helped me because I've been able to connect with other artists, elders and younger folks within the community or a bridge to other communities who were curious about this journey for themselves or already on it! It even helped me with creating a podcast called, Exquisite Humans, which serves as an archive of intergenerational stories from queer, trans, and gender expansive folks about their journeys because I was curious about all the different ways we can create ourselves.

Has being a person of color who identifies with masculine and feminine characteristics impacted how people relate and respond to you?

Absolutely, but it also helped me to get stronger in how I relate to others and how I view myself. I had to learn that by exploring a deep sense of self and presence it would always help me in discerning who I am so that I never feel lost or less confident by how folks respond to me, being me.

What do you want people who don’t understand you to know?

I would like to ask them to be more curious and open because a lot of growth and vulnerability can happen when we connect and ask questions.

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Tenay Barker (They/Them)
Tenay Barker (They/Them) California