Gender is a confusing thing. I went most of my 21 years identifying as cisgender (she/her), but as I went into my 21st year, I began to question whether that was the case. I experimented with she/they pronouns privately to see how they felt. I began asking my friends to try and use they/them pronouns occasionally so that I could test them. It felt right. I ultimately started researching what it meant to be non-binary or gender-fluid.
Let’s pause for a second
This is where I tell you what Non-binary means. Non-binary is a term under the transgender umbrella. It simply means you do not identify with anything in the gender binary (male or female). For me, I am somewhere in the middle. I have days where I feel extremely feminine, wearing makeup and dresses, to overly masculine, where I want nothing more than to be in a comfy pair of jeans and a polo shirt. I decided to tell my work colleagues and managers that I wanted to go by a new name and use gender neutral pronouns. My manager was immediately accepting and asked if she could tell the other manager and sort it out on the scheduling (consent to out someone is important, folks). I bought pronoun pins from Etsy and Redbubble to help everyone adjust. Sometimes they mess up and use the wrong pronouns, but honestly as long as they’re trying I can't get mad.
The adjustment has been hard, and hearing people use my dead-name sounds so strange to me now. There are some people I just can’t tell my gender identity to as I know they will not respect it. Sometimes i even question whether I am non-binary or if i’m genderfluid. I even consider using she/her pronouns sometimes. But ultimately I know that I identify with they/them. The people in my life have been amazing at using my new pronouns and I have received some really kind messages from them too. I’ve started slowly integrating my name (SJ) into my social media too.
A lot of non-binary people get surgery to help them fit their identity. For me, I don’t see myself doing that. While I don’t identify with any one gender, I am comfortable in my body. I can change up my hair and clothes but I’m comfortable with the body I have. But if you’re not, that’s okay. I believe people should do what makes them comfortable. I’d never want someone to force their ideologies on me so I wouldn’t do that to anyone else.
Being non-binary is hard. I struggle when people don’t use my name or pronouns correctly. I had this one instance where I was feeling particularly feminine for the first time in a long time and a woman who said she was a social worker approached me. She said she worked for “DOCS” (it’s now called DCJ, the department of community justice) and she was concerned because she thought I was a 13 year old boy being affectionate with a clearly adult woman. Her heart seemed in the right place but it definitely hurt to be misgendered yet again. I try to use neutral language when talking to people or greeting people I don’t know. Instead of the typical “sir” or “ma’am” I’ll say “hey friend how’s it going?” Or something of the like.
It’s not easy, but I don’t regret coming out as non-binary. It’s worth it in the long run.
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