A shares their story.
“Sometimes the shame of the past comes flowing back to me in many ways. My mother once said, ‘You can try as much as you want – cut your hair, wear these clothes that you wear, but you’ll never be a boy’. Perhaps it was a little upsetting, but the reply I gave her in my head was…well, I don’t want to be a boy. I just want to look like one’. We are always wise as children and we know what we want. It’s the adulting that’s hard and confusing.
What is non-binary gender?
If you have known me and interacted with me, you have already experienced it. Do I seem more of a ‘man/masculine’ or ‘woman/feminine’ to you? I mean, it’s subjective, right? You could feel either way and you feel this way because your idea of gender exists only on the man-woman spectrum. In your eyes, I could be a ‘woman’ who is different from the stereotypical feminine woman or a ‘man’ who is different from the stereotypical masculine man. Or I could be someone who is man/woman in different degrees. And, I am sure, many people feel this way about themselves since they describe themselves as lying somewhere on the man/woman spectrum.
I didn’t question the woman bucketing for a long time…like a really long time until it became very explicit that I was uncomfortable with my body. I dated women and I still do but I could never imagine myself naked and vulnerable in any intimate situation with my partners. I started exploring if there were terms to refer to a “masculine woman who is uncomfortable with her body”. And, the internet definition of “stone butch lesbian” came pretty close to that. I also called myself “masculine of center”; never really calling myself a man because I didn’t feel like one. But, I didn’t want to be called woman either. So, I called myself gender queer, never questioning too much what my gender meant to me. I did start identifying as transgender in some ways because of my bodily dysphoria and inability to feel comfortable with my birth-assigned woman/female identity. But, I didn’t really think about my gender too much.
This is one way of being non-binary. And transgender. And transmasculine. And queer. The language is limited but human experience is not.
I have always asserted my non-binary gender identity, throughout my life. Always. That hasn’t changed. Only the perceived names and interpretations have gotten closer to the essence of what I was feeling.
And, believe me – I really wish I could simply identify as a ‘different kind of woman’ or a ‘different kind of man’ and I may have actually done so if I wasn’t awakened to the fact that gender is not only about being a man or a woman or just the spectrum between them. It’s like a 3D space-time continuum. There are more than two gender identities. I assert and want to have a masculine body but it doesn’t imply a “man” gender. So, there I am, exploding your sociological cis/binary gender structure to pieces.The ‘man’/’woman’ words don’t ring any bells inside me. I don’t feel close to any of those words. And, that is my reality. And I wish the world would stop invalidating it every single moment of my life.”