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The home I built: a reflection for Pride Month

The home I built: a reflection for Pride Month

As we recognize and celebrate Pride Month this June, we are highlighting the experiences of Morgan Dean, Marketing Associate for Attune. Morgan (they/them) is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and plays a big role in event planning for not only our Rainbow Coalition employee resource group (ERG), but also many other ERGs across the company. We’re incredibly thankful they shared their story and perspective with us for Pride Month.

Growing up in the 2000s, being queer meant being lonely without knowing why. Feeling lost but not knowing where you were coming from in the first place. Like everything that made you happy was also bad but not in an evil way, just in a way that your parents couldn’t quite tell you what you did wrong. 

I think I always knew I was queer and trans; I just didn’t know the words yet. As a kid, I floated in between genders gracefully and forcefully. I didn’t feel ashamed because no one told me I should. But they also never told me that the simple metamorphosis I did daily or weekly or hourly or monthly or yearly was something special. My butterfly-like qualities were not celebrated. And I had this feeling like some part of me was missing or just out of sight–that maybe if I turned my head quick enough, I would see wings sprouting from my back. 

Like many young queer kids, I was able to be myself when I was acting. I could take up space and be loud when I was singing and dancing. 

But as I got older and became more aware of appearances, looking in the mirror and learning choreography turned into a confusing experience. I still felt like I just kept missing this part of me that was there! I knew it was! But I could never see it. 

All the emotions and the anger and the sadness and loneliness of being so happy, but in an invisible way, it built up. I became so mentally ill I could barely walk or eat. I somehow managed to excel in college, waking up for 8am ballet, sprinting through jazz, tap, acting classes, voice lessons, music theory, rehearsal, and then getting home at 11 pm to memorize scenes and music before doing it all again the next day. I was desperate to get out of the tiny pond of a conservatory theater program, and after graduation, I moved to New York City.

By now, I had figured out I was queer, but still, something was off. My body felt more and more like a stranger to me. My invisible body still alluded me, and therapy and medication helped me function, but it couldn’t get rid of this feeling.

My circle of queer folks expanded more and more, and I remember for the first time hearing a friend say that they were non-binary and trans. Using they and them pronouns because they didn’t want to be any gender; they wanted to be all of them. 

I knew immediately. It wasn’t scary. It felt like home. Here was something I understood without any explanation. 

That was four years ago. 

I read somewhere that trans people often feel stuck in the age that they were when they realized they were trans but maybe couldn’t express it. I feel that way, but I don’t feel stuck. Every day I get to honor 5-year-old Morgan, who felt like their happiness wasn’t something to share. 

Gender-affirming surgery helped me unearth the invisible body that was always there. 

Little Morgan is happy. 

My beautiful and chaotic chosen family loves all parts of me and celebrates who I am without hesitation.

Little Morgan is happy. 

My home is full of light and filled with plants, a small and mischievous black cat, and books. 

Little Morgan is happy.

I write plays now and get to watch people turn my words into worlds in front of my eyes. 

Little Morgan is happy. 

I refuse to hide my happiness ever again.

Little Morgan is happy.