It took me a long time to figure out my identity. I flip-flopped between being a boyish lesbian and being transgender. When I was younger I didn’t yet understand the concept of being non-binary and therefore struggled with the intersectionality between gender and sexuality. For example, if I’m a girl who likes girls that makes me a lesbian but then if I also hate being a girl then does that make me a boy who is normal and likes girls? No matter how I identified, there was always a dissonance in me that made me feel incomplete. I later found out through research and my time in college that there was more than being just female or male. A grey area of being non-binary opened up the possibilities to my gender and sexuality.
According to Genderqueer Identities, genderqueer is an umbrella term for those who identify with a non-normative gender and can be used as a stand alone identity. It has six main characteristics and if you fit into any of them you can consider yourself under the umbrella of genderqueer. Those characteristics are:
- both man and woman
- neither man nor woman
- moving between two or more genders
- third gendered or other-gendered
- having an overlap or blur of gender
- those who are “queer” gender, in presentation or otherwise
Under this umbrella, I identify with the term ‘agender.’ Agender is a person who identifies with neither female or male. Because I’m agender, I use the pronouns they/their/them instead of she/her/hers. For example, “I think they went to go eat” or “I think Bo went to go eat.” Simple right? Others can identify with pronouns such as ze or hir. If you are unsure what the person prefers to be called by it never hurts to ask politely. I wish I could say that I’m confident and self-assured in everything that I am…but I’m not. It takes time and courage to develop self-worth and understanding about yourself and to get the idea that others must approve who you are out of your mind.
Tips on being non-binary:
- Do your research. While finding yourself can be stressful it’s much easier to find who you are when your actively looking.
- Know that change is natural. Even if you are neutrois today or transgender tomorrow that’s okay. People will be curious and maybe confused by your ever evolving self but finding yourself is a journey and it’s okay to not be 100% sure.
- Find people for support. You are strong, smart and capable but friendly faces who understand you can make the difference.
- Here’s a link to a network of genderqueer and non-binary friendly people.