It’s important to fight for what we believe in beyond our trans life, milestones, and our identities
By: Tobey Tozier*/Trans Headlines
My partner and I have always wanted to live sustainably; to grow our own food, consume less, and take advantage of the natural resources we’re surrounded by in Maine. What draws me in about living in a tiny home is how intentional it is. The decision to downsize and live a more eco-conscious life isn’t a quick one to make nor is it the path of least resistance. Our consumer-driven culture distracts us with objects and obstructs our path to living mindfully for ourselves and for our planet, and it can be difficult to feel compelled enough to challenge it.
When Mal and I bought our house two and a half years ago, we made a compromise. We were desperate to move outside of Portland—where our apartment was expensive, small and inefficient–to buy a tiny house on wheels, park it on a piece of land and invest in a home that made more sense for our future. This was a thrilling and relentless daydream that played over and over again during our morning walks around the city and spontaneous drives to the rural towns that surround it. What a luxury it would be (if not a right) to live debt-free. How impactful it would be to have a smaller footprint.
Trans life in a tiny home?
As we looked into the process of buying a tiny home and our own plot of land, it was quickly apparent that the financial and logistical hurdles were too large to overcome. Given the mobile nature of tiny homes, the amount of money we would have had to put down upfront on both the home and the land took a hard hit on our long-term dreams. Code enforcers in most Maine towns refused to allow tiny homes, and until recently, no single Maine town had come forward to support them. The majority of tiny home success stories we had heard came from people with advantages we didn’t have–like parking on a family member’s property or the skills to build the house ourselves. The minimalist lifestyle that once seemed like an ingenious solution for making lemonade out of a minimum wage was disappointed before it had the possibility to manifest.
Would this ever be possible?
Our tiny house plans were put on the back burner as we switched gears from minimal living to finding a modest home we could afford within 20 miles of the city. It wasn’t a “tiny” home, but it was a 720 square foot gift from the universe we could call our own. We sunk our teeth into gardening, building our own furniture out of recycled materials, and trading in disposable things for reusable ones. This house has given us so much freedom and has only heightened our desire to live more sustainably.
As we approach the three-year anniversary of the closing on our house, we’re pairing down our belongings and planning to sell. This time around, we’ll be lucky enough to use the equity we’ve earned on our current house to finance the build of our new home. It’s still likely to be a long road to gaining our new town’s acceptance of full-time tiny home living, but one we see as an important road to pave for future generations.
There are a lot of good things worth fighting for in life. Fighting to exist in the world as a transgender person is one of many lifelong battles I’ll face, the tiny home journey is an important reminder that we have to fight for what we believe in within all aspects of our lives, beyond just being trans.
*Tobey Tozier is a transgender designer and founder of Transcapsule, a transgender transition tracking app. He lives in Maine with his spouse, Mal, their two cats, and a senior beagle named Tuesday. Tobey has made it his life’s mission to help other people who are transgender live happier, more positive lives.