Friday, July 24, 2020

I'M NON-BINARY: QUESTIONS & A FEW ANSWERS

art and info via wednesday holmes // @hellomynameiswednesday

following up on my coming out post, i wanted to answer some of the questions i've received.

HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU ARE NON-BINARY?
the main reason i know i'm non-binary, is because i am.
i've always known. only in recent years i learned the label "non-binary". 
this past fall, october 2019, i realized/accepted it fits me, i am non-binary. 

i know partly because of dysphoria; which i have also had forever and only made a connection well into adulthood that is what i'm dealing with. keep in mind, not all non-binary and/or trans folks experience gender dysphoria. gender euphoria is also a thing.

how do you know you're right or left-handed? i'm right-handed because it feels natural.
sort of like hearing lyrics for the first time to the song that's played in the background my whole life.

it's hard to explain? and i think that's because we're so conditioned to gender binaries, we demand concrete answers for anything to make sense.
gender isn't that. if you feel it is a concrete, binary thing, you're probably cis. if you feel like those rigid boxes of man and woman can't contain your gender identity fully, i think you should explore gender.
i think everyone should explore gender.

no, doing so won't make you transgender. 
but if you're not a cisgender person, there may be a lot of freedom and understanding out here for you. a home. it's important for cisgender folks to get familiar with gender identities and experiences. this helps love people more fully. so far, you know at least one non-binary person. me!

i'm non-binary, genderqueer, not on a line between male and female, rather up and around, over and under. gender is a spectrum. (i've shared it before, this paint chart visual is a favorite, i hope you'll take a look.)

ARE YOU STILL A CHRISTIAN?
yes. i'm a christian. coming out as non-binary didn't change that. my faith is helping me every step of my gender journey!
 
DO YOU THINK CHANGING YOUR GENDER IS IN LINE WITH THE BIBLE?
i haven't changed my gender, i named it. labeling my gender identity is still a recent thing for me, but i've always been genderqueer.

the bible is important to me. the bible helps me understand god and creation and truth. the bible isn't a science journal but does contain gender diversity and reflects god's creativity!

those of you asking this question: i want you to check out austen hartke. his videos and writing are so wonderful and informative; be sure to read his book, transforming: the bible and the lives of transgender christians. his work has helped me understand things that i wasn't sure about or completely missed in the bible. please reach out to me when you're reading, would love to discuss with you!

DO YOU BELIEVE GOD MADE A MISTAKE WHEN HE MADE YOU A WOMAN/WITH A WOMAN'S BODY?
i don't believe god makes mistakes. god made me as i am on purpose. it's important to remember that sex doesn't determine gender and one's gender may not match their sex. 

WHAT DOES YOUR HUSBAND THINK ABOUT YOU BEING NON-BINARY?
that's for him to say, i think. 
patrick has been a massive support for me. since coming out to him our relationship has strengthened; that's what can happen when partners are vulnerable and honest. he still has a wifey, last month we celebrtaed 14 years married. i'm still me. we'll always be getting to know one another and we're committed to the journey as a couple. including my gender identity and expression.

ARE YOU STILL CALLED DAUGHTER/SISTER/WIFE/MOTHER/AUNT/MRS.?
yes and no. 
weird maybe, but in my family context, these titles don't feel gendered to me. they're terms of affection from my family. it does always make my skin crawl to be called mrs. or ma'am in any context. i don't love to be called a woman either, but she/her pronouns don't bother me at all. wifey is a nickname patrick has called me forever and it feels like just like that, an affectionate nickname.
there's also the issue of people pleasing. i really don't want to feel like i am hassling anyone by changing up how they see me. i'm getting better in this area though, so watch out for me becoming more assertive when appropriate. it's a process for sure.

for now, trust me that i will let you know if you've referred to me incorrectly, you can correct and we'll move along together.

WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME?
i've been thinking about the name my parents gifted me at birth. hannah feels much more feminine than i feel but i am definitely attached to it after almost forty years! again with the people pleasing issue.

someday you will see me experimenting with new names and nicknames. 

WILL YOU GET ANY SURGERIES?
a big note here: please don't ask non-binary and/or trans folks this question. it's none of your business and it can trigger dysphoria. 
some trans people get gender affirming surgeries, some do not. you do not need to medically transition to be valid. if one's gender isn't their assigned gender at birth (agab), they're transgender! there's no certain way to look if you're non-binary and/or trans. let's get that into our collective heads.

IS COMING OUT NECESSARY? WHY DO YOU THINK ANYONE NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR GENDER PREFERENCE?
it is necessary for me. 
i can't be fully present in my relationships if i'm hiding under a mask. 
wrestling with my gender identity and keeping it secret was affecting every part of my life, including my health!

whether or not someone comes out publicly or to anyone at all is their choice. coming out for me is safe most of the time. many non-binary and/or trans people stay closeted to stay alive. their gender identity isn't less valid in the closet. 
this is one reason we all must explore gender and dismantle our biases and prejudices. lives depend on it! trans people are widely discriminated against. non-binary and/or transgender people of color are exponentially marginalized, specifically black trans women. this is a crisis we must care about!

A FEW THOUGHTS FROM ME:
i chose to answer these questions because i think they were asked with good intentions. please understand, you really don't need to be asking queer folks these questions, unless they explicitly say "ask me anything" or at least if you're in close relationship with them.

do i identify as trandgender?
non-binary gender identities are under the trans umbrella:
a transgender (trans) person is someone whose gender identity is different than their assigned gender at birth. non-binary (sometimes enby) means your gender is outside of the binary male and female genders. this could mean between those, mixture of those or beyond those. as non-binary people's gender differs from their assigned gender at birth, they are trans. some non-binary people identify as transgender, some don't. all valid.
i feel at home in the trans community! i'm comfortable being labeled as transgender. i usually don't say that myself though, sticking to non-binary and genderqueer. partly because i have imposter syndrome and internalized transphobia. i'm working diligently on both and grateful for the many queer and trans folks who validate, educate and embrace me.

i'm early in my social transition to expressing my gender identity. some parts i will probably continue to write about. when i do share, i want to be very open. taking the chance and being vulnerable, because it matters to me. for myself/my own fulfillment, for the reader to maybe learn a new experience. 

there is so much to learn and i'm not an expert on gender. i don't believe anyone is!

whether you know me or not, feel free to contact me if you want to talk more about gender or ask more questions. please respect my answers or not answering, even if it's not what you want to hear.