I was born in the nineties. I can’t really remember when I was first introduced to the concept of gender, but for the longest time, I’ve always felt incredibly insecure about my own. Growing up, I always knew that I wasn’t like the other boys. I felt like an imposter, not like I was born into the wrong body, I never felt like I was a girl… But I never felt like a ‘proper boy’, or I guess, later on, a ‘proper man’.
During the nineties, conversations about gender were not what they are today. The idea of somebody changing their gender, other than for fun during a game or to play a part, was not something that was on my radar until well into my teens. Even then, being part of an incredibly conservative church meant that I was manipulated to believe that this was some kind of perversion, against nature, and certainly not something that I wanted anything to do with – I was a good Christian after all.
Going into my twenties, my faith fell apart, and I became a staunch ally of the LGBTQ community. I’m not sure if it was because of some deep, unconscious kinship, or just by chance that after leaving the church I found that my friendship groups were largely made up of people who identified as queer in some way. But seemed to become known as being the token straight cis friend who loved drag race. It was at this point that I was first introduced to the concept of somebody’s gender being ‘non-binary’ or fluid in some way.
Immediately this was something that I understood on a spiritual level. I didn’t recognise it in myself yet, I still considered myself to be a cis man for a long time, but I understood people when they talked about their feelings of gender dysphoria. I understood it, but I couldn’t recognise that it was the same thing I was feeling, maybe in part due to some kind of internalised transphobia, but largely I think because I simply didn’t think that I could be non-binary if I identified as straight – which sounds fucking ridiculous when I say it out loud… But I genuinely didn’t know anybody who had questioned their gender that was straight.
I guess the concept of being straight sort of falls out the window when you remove the concept of binary gender, but that’s something for another blog because it’s something I’m still figuring out. But in terms of my gender identity – right now the best term that fits for me is agender, which sits under the non-binary umbrella.
I’ve been using they/them pronouns for a while now, and it honestly feels SO affirming when people use them. If you don’t understand, that’s OK. But educate yourself. Using the correct pronouns to address someone is a matter of respect, so if you are OK with disrespecting me then I guess that’s fine, I can’t force you to respect me, or anybody for that matter. But I wanted to express some of my journey with this so far.