Today is October 11th, National Coming Out Day, and I wanted to celebrate it by talking about my gender identity openly for the first time. Until now, I’ve never come out publicly. It’s a very private thing for me and I’ve been uncomfortable talking about it, but recently I’ve come to realize that I absolutely need to. The world deserves more people discussing their experiences, so I’ll add to the list.
What is non-binary? It means I’m not a woman. And I’m not a man either. If you want more detail, read this article, or this one, or many other places online. If you want to know more about they/them pronouns (which I use), there’s a book for that.
For me, it’s just a label; my inner identity is nuanced, and this is just the term I like to use best.
My Non-Binary Life
It’s been a really long road for me. I’ve known I’m transgender since high school, but it took a long time to accept it, and longer to find a label I’m comfortable with. My sometimes-intense, definitely untreated social anxiety issues made it even harder to come out of the closet… So, for the most part, I just didn’t. I changed my pronouns on websites, and told people who asked, but I never went out of my way to tell friends or family, not until recently. I think some family members are even finding out from this very post (sorry).
It’s not like I’m a different person; I’m me, no matter what labels I use. That was my reasoning for staying half-closeted for half a decade! Stupid reasoning, maybe?
Honestly, I don’t want to come out. Not like this. The only reason I do is because it’s the only way to tell the whole world at once and put the issue to rest.
In a perfect world, I’d have transitioned quietly and lived a peaceful, happy life with a spouse and three kids and a few books people like. Maybe the people of fifty years from now can have that. But this is 2021, and we aren’t in a world where non-binary people can simply exist. It’s a struggle.
I’m not under the delusion that coming out will make my life happier; a lot of friends and family will not like this at all, and the more public I become, the harder it will be. But I HAVE to go public, because if I don’t fight for myself, then what’s even the point?
Gotta Fight For Good
We’re in a world where transgender kids get banned from sports, get assaulted in bathrooms, get kicked out of their homes just for existing. Non-binary people face discrimination in everything from toilets to user sign-ups on popular websites. It’s a really tough life, and anything at all I can do to improve it for others, I’ll take that, even if it means talking more publicly than I’m comfortable with. Until the day that transgender people can be accepted without making a big deal about it, I’ll keep fighting to make the world better.
Because guess what? Being non-binary is awesome! I feel great about it. My discomfort comes from putting myself out there in front of the whole world and talking about myself. NOT from my actual gender identity.
Ever since I accepted being non-binary, it’s been great. I unlocked the secret cheat code that allows me to understand myself. Before, I felt confused and frustrated every time I looked in the mirror. Now, it’s all clear to me. Expressing that freely is just… the best thing ever.
Of course, it’s not all rose-crowns and jazz music. Being transgender also super sucks in certain ways!
I don’t like dysphoria. I don’t like seeing a body that doesn’t fit my heart, gender roles I don’t understand, and that’s been a huge issue for me for years. In middle school, before I had even heard the term “transgender” before, I fantasized constantly about suddenly turning into the opposite gender and dating the girl I liked. I was desperate to hold back the tides of puberty and make sure it never came, and I did not go gentle into that good night (because puberty was awful for me lol). In high school, finding out about all this stuff slowly made me realize that what I felt all those years was NOT normal; it was something only a few people ever experience.
I can’t help alleviate that dysphoria without going public, without telling the world who I really am and have always been. So that’s what I’m doing today, telling you that I’m non-binary. This is the first big step I’ve taken in years, and it terrifies me, but in the end it’s going to make me very happy.
For now, I’m going by the name B.
…Yeah, just the letter B. It’s really pretentious, like I’m some snooty postmodern painter, but it’s the best I’ve got so far. Any other name I’ve tried out hasn’t worked for me. One day, I’ll probably find something. But for now, I am the classical music critic/wine taster known as B.
Edit: Almost immediately after making this post, I discorvered that Facebook refused to allow me to actually use “B.” as a name. I had to come up with something longer almost immediately, and settled on Beatrice. You know, “Bea.” Before you ask, I know it’s the same as my Hands Held in the Snow character. Yes, she happens to also have blonde hair and be gay. It’s a coincidence, I swear…
I don’t hate my birth name. It’s perfectly fine, but it’s also heavily gendered. If you see my birth name, you will assume things about me that I don’t want. So, unfortunately, the name has to change.
My transition has been a long and tumultuous process, and the name is really the hardest part. It’s, like, literally the thing everyone calls you by! I wanna get this right! But I’m also not really in a rush to finalize anything, because it’s as tumultuous as it is continuous.
Conclusion: I’m Still Non-Binary
Thanks for reading about my life. It was fun! I guess I’ll have to do this again sometime!
(That was a joke…)