I grew up not feeling like a girl, but I also grew up hearing anything queer was a sin. I also grew up only knowing about trans women, trans men simply weren’t a thing i’d ever heard of until my late teens and I was in my mid-20s before I heard about nonbinary. So as a kid I knew I didn’t feel like a girl but I also knew I didn’t 100% feel like a boy, though it was much closer and comfortable, so I had to assume I just couldn’t “girl” properly. Which makes absolutely no sense.
That “not like other girls” trope? Yea, I loved that. I know now it’s problematic, but also, i’m actually not a girl, but back then I didn’t know any other options existed. But girls, like another other gender or lack there of, come in many varieties. There is no right or wrong way to be any gender. It’s just what feels right and true to you.
I hated long hair (and was forced into having long hair growing up) and many girly things. And there was some girly things I actually did like and man I felt embarrassed by that, but I tried to ignore it and just liked what I liked (and you should just like what you like). Like, I loved Lisa Frank for example. I said I hated the color pink on principle. I never hated the color pink. Though my favorite colors are blue and green but that’s because they remind me of the ocean and nature. However as a kid I couldn’t pick a favorite color so I said mine was purple because my favorite Backstreet Boy, Howie, said it’s his. I’ve since learned doing stuff like that is actually pretty autistic of me lol. I am autistic, always have been, but was nearly 32 when I learned that.
I always wanted to BE a boy, even pre-puberty. Then puberty came, and I hated it. And yes, I know, everyone hates puberty, but it was also a factor of “this is wrong, so very wrong, this isn’t what i’m supposed to look like”. I don’t know how else to put it. I was hoping i’d grow out of it, get used to it. I never did. I’m 33 now. I want to transition but currently am not able to. Hopefully one day. So for now I still “look like a woman” (you know what I mean) and I know this doesn’t invalidate me but hello dysphoria!
And yes, I realize now you are whatever gender you know you are, regardless of what you look like or what you were assigned at birth. But i’m just learning that in my 30s. So when I say I wanted to BE a boy, I also mean I wish I was born amab, instead of afab.
I was always jealous of guys, of how they looked, wished I looked like that. Jealous of girls with small boobs and could not for the life of me understand why they were jealous of my huge ones.
Of course i’m also bisexual so i’ve had that thought “Do I want to look like him or fuck him?” when looking at a cis guy and the answer has been
I’m multiply physically disabled, known i’m bi since 13 (still am), and knew I was “weird” before I knew i’m autistic, and have multiple mental health issues on top of it … so when I heard about nonbinary in my late 20s, already married to a man (who I loved and always will have a place in my heart, he died Feb 16th, 2021), I was scared.
I was scared because I was already “too much”. I can’t be any more strange, please no for the love of God NO!! That was my thought. I refused to look into it.
I had a breakdown at 30 and realized, i’m nonbinary. I came out and told my husband, he was supportive (even when I told him I want to transition). First I figured i’m agender, then demiguy (which for me is part agender part man). Gender had always been a source of pain and confusion so I just wanted to say “fuck it” but also had to realize, some gender i’m happy with and agender wasn’t my whole story. At first I said “any pronouns” but it became obvious she irked me.
Oh, that reminds me, when I still thought I was cis i’d have instances of people thinking I was a guy, say online or before they saw boobs, and I would never correct them and I realized it made me happy when they did that and very annoyed when they “realized” and corrected themselves and I couldn’t understand why it annoyed me for them to correct themselves, I mean, I was a woman, right? (no, and that shoulda been a friggin’ neon sign for me! But alas, the brain can refuse to realize things it doesn’t want to/isn’t ready for).
So eventually I changed my pronouns to they/them then they/he. They/He are my pronouns. I also go by Tyler now.
Other things that shoulda been neon signs: I’d daydream about being a guy, masturbating imagining I have a penis and am the guy I wish I was, wish I could chop off my chest, straighten out my curves, have a deeper voice, like the facial hair aspect I got of what appears to be pcos (though I could do without the pain thank you) and wish I had more facial hair. I have a lot for an afab person not on T but no where near a beard or “male-level” facial hair. I know there’s others i’ve realized but can’t think of them off the top of my head. Look up trans guy memes or something, you’ll probably find them.
I haven’t legally or physically transitioned at all yet, but i’d like to. Unfortunately things stand in my way, but hopefully i’ll get there. I’ve heard of trans people coming out in their 40s, 50s, 60s, even older, so I get hope from that, knowing there is no such thing as too late. And regardless, I know who I am, and the right people will respect me for who I am.
And now i’m starting to cry. This is my nonbinary trans journey so far.
And you know what? I hated dresses as a kid (though i’ve always liked skirts, certain ones like skater skirts that weren’t too girly to me) and even now being too feminine (in terms of looks) would make me very uncomfortable. I already have a huge chest and people constantly see me as a woman, it’s just … I don’t know how else to put it. But I can see myself if I get to a point of physically transitioning and looking more like I want, who I know myself to be, then feeling more comfortable dressing and being feminine. I’ve heard other transmasc people say the same thing so I know i’m not alone!
Who knows, maybe i’ll transition, and then wear a dress. I could see me doing that, when i’ve said countless times growing up “you won’t catch me dead in a dress” and shit like that. But sadly, I also know, i’d be terrified to go out in public as a man in a dress. I know there’s nothing wrong with being a man in a dress, but it can be unsafe to say the least. Who knows, I might get the opportunity to be who I am, but still be too afraid to be 100% me, because of the way society is. But I have to hope.
By the way, I also say i’m a nonbinary man. Nonbinary means not 100% either binary gender, some people, like myself, have a connection to a binary gender (or both), some have no connection to either. Of course gender fluid people also fall under nonbinary and they might go from one binary gender to the next. I hope i’ve explained that well enough, apologies if I have not.
I don’t need to make sense to anyone else. I love Jeffrey Marsh and what they’ve said at one point (look up Jeffrey Marsh on Twitter or Youtube, please, they are awesome); that respect has to come before understanding, it doesn’t work the other way around. Understanding can come after respect, but also, it’s ok if it doesn’t. I know people have this desire to understand everything, but it’s ok to not understand everything, just respect people for who they are even if you don’t get it. I don’t understand why that’s hard for people. I am sorry if it’s hard for you, but I believe everyone has the capacity for kindness and love. I’m not saying it’s always easy, i’m saying I believe everyone has the capacity.
When I refused to look into nonbinary and said “I don’t get it” (because I didn’t want to, as explained) I still respected people when they said they were nonbinary and did my best to use the correct pronouns. It wasn’t hard, despite me pushing away my own nonbinary-ness out of intense fear. It was years, like 4 or 5, of me knowing about nonbinary people before I would admit to myself that I am one.
I hope this makes sense, sorry it’s all over the place, but this is my story so far and I know who I am. Life is a journey and it’s never too late to learn more about yourself.
Edit before posting (good thing I write things up ahead of time) to add, not having the words for how I felt growing up and thinking how I felt wasn’t real and I was all alone, is why labels are so important to me. Also for thinking anything not cishet is a sin growing up. You can understand why labels are important to me, I finally have the words to describe how I feel, and I also didn’t make them up myself, meaning others feel the same way and i’m not alone! (Also, to certain people: all words are made up, language is a living thing). Labels don’t need to be important to everyone, but for some people they are, and both are ok.
Also, representation is important. I read Gender Queer and in a lot of ways, it was like reading my own story, so again, finally, seeing that i’m not alone. And I learned more words for things I had no idea had words! Feelings I didn’t know had words to describe them, that other people put into words before me. Words and representation are powerful.