What being non-binary means to me…

When I tell people I am non-binary and prefer they/them pronouns, people tend to pause for a moment. They look me up and down as if they’re working it out in their heads. The confusion is etched on their faces. Non-binary? I can almost see the steam coming out of their ears as they try and calculate my gender identity in their heads.

Then I wait for the questions to start. “So what does that mean?” And “I thought there were only two genders?” or “So…you’re like confused?” Or “what does that feel like?” Or “Are you having surgeries or starting hormones?” Or “Why are you wearing makeup if you don’t want to be seen as a woman?” Or my personal favourite “if you dont have a gender does that mean I can identify as an alien if I want?”

That is usually the point where I take a deep breath and prepare myself to educate somebody that maybe won’t really listen or appreciate my response.

To me being non-binary means that I feel both masculine and feminine. It means that I feel more comfortable with they/them pronouns because I can feel myself cringe everytime I’m referred to as a woman or people use the she/her pronouns for me as I don’t feel like that is who I am. I also don’t feel like being referred to as a man with he/him pronouns as I don’t think this is an accurate description of my feelings or the way I want to be seen or present. So for me, they/them pronouns make me feel more comfortable, less hurt on the days when having a typically feminine body is hard.

On my darkest days, I find myself getting frustrated that I can’t find any clothes that I feel like “me” in. I find showering and getting changed so difficult because seeing my body reminds me that I don’t look like I feel on the inside. I often find myself curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor naked and in tears over the way I look. I HATE my chest because it just feels wrong for me to have boobs- like they never should have been part of me. On my hardest days, I think of hurting myself because I get so upset and angry that my body doesn’t feel like it’s mine. Yes, I do get suicidal because of it. That is the truth. I ache to be seen for me- the non-binary me and for people to use my preferred pronouns without making a big deal out of it. I ache to feel accepted and wanted in a world that is so prone to rejecting and neglecting to care for non-binary people. I wish for the jokes and misgendering to stop and to feel safe enough to be me without having to wonder if it is safe.

Being non-binary is beautiful too. It’s the freedom of wearing whatever you want to wear and having any hairstyle you want. It’s the feeling of not being defined by your biological sex and not being put in a box of what is the societal norm. It is a community full of creative, brave, cool people who absolutely own who they are despite being rejected by society. It is the freedom of being whoever you want to be because gender does not define you!

Non-binary people are not here to make you uncomfortable or to confuse you. We are here to live our lives just like everyone else and be our authentic selves- however that may look. It is not a new “trend” or a “fashion statement” or us just trying to be awkward- we have always existed, it’s just taken time for people to openly express themselves in the public eye. Non-binary people are still human and deserve love and respect and understanding just as much as anybody else.

Be kind, always!

-Naomi 💜

3 thoughts on “What being non-binary means to me…

  1. Definitely understand. Being misgendered is so painful. My landlady/friend (but proving to be really not a friend) basically got mad I asserted my they/them pronouns once in 2 years. Like you, I’ve gotten suicidal and fought self harm urges for a very long time on my journey to self acceptance.

    Liked by 1 person

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