What Being Non-Binary Means To Me
One of the things that I love so much about gender and identity is that even when two people share the same identity, their definitions and experiences within that identity can be very different. This means one person’s experiences should never be the go-to narrative for an entire community. This also means that if you had no idea you were trans or non-binary until you were in your adulthood, that’s ok! This means that if you’ve never hated your body, that’s ok and that you can still be trans and/or non-binary! This means that if you never want to take hormones or have any kind of surgery, that you can STILL be trans and/or non-binary! There are so many ways to show up in the world as trans and/or non-binary and what I’m about to share next, is simply my own experience. I do not speak for the community, but am rather simply sharing my experience, strength, and hope with you all.
Before we jump in, I should remind you all that there is a differences between gender identity and sexual orientation and that the two are not dependent on each other. My trans and non/binary gender identity has nothing to do with my Queerness, which is my sexual orientation. These two concepts often get confused for each other when they are two very different things.
Now, let’s start with how I identify. This piece often confuses people. I identify as trans-masculine AND non-binary, yes both! I do not however identify as a man. I have not ever wanted to be a man. But, I do however feel the most comfortable showing up in the world as masculine presenting (most of the time). The truth is, growing up, I never felt like a girl. But I also never felt like the boys, who happened to be some of the most unkind people I knew as a kid. I spent the first twenty-five years of my life trying to fit into the binary mold of gender that this society has created. Then, as an adult it finally occurred to me; I could just be me, even if that fell outside of both binaries. I didn’t have to be a boy or a girl, because some people in this world are neither, boy or girl. While some are born both! We have this rigidity in our culture around gender being binary, when it just, isn’t. And there is so much proof of that all around us. Hi. Hello there, have we met?!
I never had the thought “I wish I was boy,” but I did look in the mirror and wonder what I would look like if I had facial hair. Or how my backpack strap would look/feel across a flat chest instead of my very large one. Even to this day, I don’t feel like a boy. Or even want be a boy. But, what I do know is that I feel far more comfortable in my masculine body than I ever did in my feminine body. And that I’m definitely not a girl nor have I ever felt like a girl. And that Papa is the title that feels the most fitting for me and that sometimes non-binary people use binary pronouns.
I feel far more comfortable outside of the binary then I ever have within it and my discomfort that I experienced all throughout my childhood and education, was simply society trying to force me into one binary (or another). But some of us break free and find ourselves, our TRUE selves. We work on chipping away the layers of stereotypes and expectations until we finally arrive to who we were meant to be all along, which even still ever changing and ever growing.
If your kiddo is experimenting with gender and identity, let them. If one day they ask you to use one pronoun and the next day another, let them. It’s not that they are confused, it’s that society’s constructs of gender don’t fit us all and that can be confusing when we’re so strategically forced into one binary or another from birth. Kids wouldn’t be confused if they didn’t have all of our adult bias to wade through before they even learn to walk. They are confused because we are confusing them as adults and a society, not because there is something wrong with them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, they’re the most beautiful diamonds.
Being trans and non-binary has become one of the most sacred gifts in my life today and ultimately, coming home to myself and my shell is what allowed Wilder to find their way home to me.
Be your bold trans and non-binary selves, because we sure do glow.
Danny (& Wilder)