Breaking Binaries With B. Scott

The TV, radio, and Web personality opens up about the BET Awards he was pulled from for dressing too femme, and explains how he came to terms with his recently claimed transgender identity.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

September 19 2013 5:00 AM ET

Scott worries about the implications this binary, transition-based narrative has on gender-nonconforming people of all ages. Noting that he's received grateful emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from fans relieved to be able to "say I'm like B. Scott," he's concerned the singular focus on transition doesn't create space for the diversity that exists within any group. 

"Because of that pressure, there could be people like me, who are somewhere in between… [who] feel like, well, they only know transgender to be a certain thing," hypothesizes Scott. "Then they transition, because that's what they think they have to do in order to be what everybody puts out there."

But Scott has never been one to be defined by others' expectations. In fact, he finds challenging assumptions to be powerful — a theme he explored in a wide-ranging interview with fellow trans activist Janet Mock last month. 

"[Folks] remember people who challenge their thought process, or their labels, or what they're comfortable with," Scott tells The Advocate. "And so I'm going to use that power to educate them about people like me. I want to use that power to show other people like me that they have that power too. And we can use it for good."

Even in this conversation, Scott challenges several established binary traditions. He uses male pronouns and intentionally labels himself a transgender person, not a trans man or a trans woman. When asked about his sexual orientation, Scott first confirms that it's an entirely distinct aspect from his gender identity.

"Yes, I am a transgender person," he says. "And yes, I am so gay! I love it — I'll shout it from the rooftops! And it won't change. It's my truth. It's who I am, it's my essence."

"I feel that being a transgender person is more of a descriptor of me than my sexual orientation," continues Scott. "Because transgender really covers my gender expression — it covers what I choose to wear, how I choose to do my hair and my makeup, and even down to my mannerisms. I feel like my mannerisms are somewhere between what is stereotypically male and feminine. … And for the first time, I feel like I've found a term that, if I am to be labeled, this is the term that best identifies me."

With that mentality, Scott has added a new label to his ever-stylish wardrobe. These days, he's not only a television, radio, and Internet personality, an entrepreneur, a gay person of color originally from the American South — with a degree in chemistry and psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill — he's also an outspoken advocate for the transgender community. He's a staunch supporter of individuality and cohesive, supportive community. But most of all, he's a fierce advocate for everyone who wants to live their truth, despite the restrictions others try to force upon them.  

"Once you really own, deep down in your spirit, who you are, that's the power," says Scott. "Owning who you are is so powerful. It unlocks everything, every door in your life. Your true potential can be accessed once you really know who you are, and you're walking in your truth."

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