In Euphoria’s latest episode, we see the viewpoint of Julez, illustrating the ins and outs of her relationships with Rue, her parents, lovers and most importantly herself.
In this episode, we see several harsh realities that shape the theme of Julez’s life. An absent mother afflicted by addiction, arbitrary love that only exists in the corners of her mind and her ever-evolving sense of self.
Julez is in the middle of a therapy session where her perception of her life takes us on a journey throughout the episode. She expresses that she no longer wants to be on her hormones/blockers and is “thinking about what’s next.” Realizing that her womanhood has been shaped by the approval of men and the male gaze, which is now null and void because she no longer wants to feed into that ideology.
“How the fuck did I spend my whole life building this body, mind and soul around what I think men desire… It’s embarrassing and I feel like a fraud.” – Julez
“I feel like my entire life I’ve been trying to conquer femininity and somewhere along the way, I feel like femininity conquered me.” – Julez.
Julez delineates the social hierarchy that exists in the female world. How some choose friendliness and kindness towards others by how pretty, skinny, or well put together you are. It’s always the cover of the book and not the content on its pages that discerns who deserves a seat at the table of womanhood and “queenism.”
Rue is a catalyst for Julez’s transformation because she was the first girl to truly ever see Julez for who she really was and love every part of her.
Releasing herself from the clasps of heteronormative rules is now allowing her to live and thrive with a gender identity that doesn’t subconsciously require validation from cis-gendered persons.
Julez may be a character; however, the experiences that she breathes exist in the LGBTQ community for trans men, women and non-binary persons. Here are some testimonies and shared experiences from these individuals.
“We are often seen as diet men and women,” said Brandon Strong, freelance photographer (they/them).
For trans persons, society analyzes their gender and identity with the representation of a cis-gendered person. However, we are capable as a society and on an individual level to remove ourselves from this mentality.
Femininity does not need to be defined by broad hips and soft, sweet vocal tones. We don’t need to be feminine to be women.
Masculinity does not need to be defined by a deep voice, a present beard and muscular arms. We don’t need to be masculine to be men.
When we limit ourselves to who and what we can be by society’s standards, it breeds a type of human that is detached from themselves and full of hate and resentment because living authentically can cost your life, especially when you’re trans.
“Rue taught Julez how to see herself just by not judging her. The dynamic between trans/cis women and men forces us to think that we want to be these beautiful passing women in society’s eyes. The image that we’re aiming for is perceived through the same lens that tears us down, because if people know we’re transgender…they’re going to tear us down,” said Sunny Grant, singer-songwriter/producer (she/her).
According to HRC, we lost 44 trans persons to violence last year, which is double how many lives were lost in 2019.
“There’s no blueprint to being Black and trans, most of my childhood up into my adulthood was surviving, it wasn’t the living and thriving it’s supposed to be when you’re a child. A lot of the traits you acquire along the lines you miss, social skills, building self-esteem, having confidence, planning, time management, etc., they’re all missed because you’re essentially consistently traumatized throughout your entire life,” said Strong.
If your gender identity is separate from your biology, you should not have to conform to that gender identity’s social structures if you don’t want to.
“I don’t give a damn if today I have long hair and earrings and tomorrow my head is shaved, I’m still me, I’m still Sacha. Both of those are me and I don’t need to constantly copy what is around me for people to understand that I’m non-binary it should just be something people are okay with,” said Sacha M., biology student (they, them).
Although Julez is a trans woman and the voices here today are of trans and non-binary persons, the words you’re reading are for all gender identities. This can be applied to cis-gendered persons’ lives; why? Because gender is spiritual.
Just because it’s the norm doesn’t mean it’s okay.