Wash Yer ‘Maters! (Tomato Art Fest) | My Cluckin’ Swag
It’s that time of the year again for our favorite East Nashville holiday, Tomato Art Fest! That special day of the year we celebrate the almighty tomato as a uniter of our amazing community. This year, we submit our humble request that no matter who you are, make sure you “Wash Yer ‘Maters!”
Material: 65% Polyester 35% Cotton
Color: White on Heather (Ron) Burgundy
Our Mission for Merch:
We believe that every new piece of merch is a chance to allow our fam from a marginalized community to tell their story, in hopes that their strength and acceptance of their authentic self is a reminder that living your best life, means living your authentic life.
Our Model’s Story:
“My name is Tatum. (he/him)
To write a short bio is challenging, life sure has a funny way of taking you through challenges you never thought you would make it through. (But here I am sharing with you a part of my soul).
Writing this today still feels very vulnerable, I am a trans man living in the bible belt as my truest self and that alone is a blessing.
For me, I never thought I would openly come out until both of my parents died. I thought I was doing it out of respect, which is partly true, due to the fact of growing up Pentecostal and knowing my parents firm beliefs on the lgbtq community. (Which was a life condemned to hell if you were lgbtq).
If I could tell you anything important about myself it would be this: To know yourself and to be yourself are two very different things. I have always known who I was even as young as an elementary school kid growing up in a small town...just ask my siblings. They may not understand my journey but it was never a surprise to them when I came out as "trans."
However, coming from a broken home never made that easy. Thankfully my siblings never grew up in the same Pentecostal background as I did living with my mom. Both households were very different in their upbringing and I am thankful for both sets of world views because I had the privilege to see the world through two very different lenses.
Coming out in the south is weird. First, I came out as a lesbian and my dad didn't understand but he was cool with it. He even sent me naked memes with females or cracked lesbian jokes with me. Which I thought was super awesome considering me and mother at this point were estranged. Later, I would learn that coming out as trans wasn't acceptable to my father... but he was totally ok with me being a lesbian (I still can't grasp this concept).
On the other hand, I have a mother who was never ok with any of it but she tried her hardest after years of not speaking to me as a lesbian. After years of not talking, she started to attempt to become a part of me and my partner’s lives. I felt like after many hard years we overcame many hurdles and I had gained my best friend back...that is until I came out as trans....BOOM....we started from square one all over again.
I officially came out as trans in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic and I felt like I hit rock bottom all over again. I no longer speak to my dad because he doesn't accept me for who I am. My mother on the other hand, I don't think will ever understand anything to do with the queer community due to her religious upbringing. She has surprised me - she has not once stopped trying to reach out to me and attempting to form a relationship (even if it is strained).
While I have a lot of grace for those who have known me prior to coming out, I am reminded by those, not only blood but those who aren't blood related, that I am perfect just the way I am. If people could stop and take the time to get to know me they would see that I too am HUMAN. My journey may be very different from what anyone knows or understands but at the end of the day it is MY JOURNEY.
For the first time in my life I feel happy and whole. That is because I choose to live my life authentically and unapologetically. I never knew how to do that in my younger years and it is still a love I continually try to give myself and learn to do each and every day. Although I may have lost close friends and family along the way, what I have gained personally could never be replaced.
I am thankful for those who have stood in my corner even when I didn't have the strength to do so myself. I am grateful for my journey and I am grateful to be living the life I live now. I know we have a long way to go for human rights but I am thankful and honored to be a voice for those who once sat in my shoes silenced and misunderstood.
I want to live my life authentically and open for those who need encouragement or those who can't quite come out of the closet. I want everyone to know that no matter YOUR battle - YOUR story is important. You matter in this world even when no one understands. You know yourself better than anyone else ever could, don't forget that!
I stand proud and open for those who cannot openly do that for themselves.