I have been stuggling with feeling stuck in a society that doesn’t fit me. When people aggressively gender me I feel violated. It has felt like I’m in a downward spiral into darkness, nobody sees me as I am and being non binary trans is a fight for recognition that is completely futile. I don’t feel seen or understood by anyone, I know this isn’t true as people only ever see others in the reflection of themselves so people understand the parts of me that resonate in themselves.
Even within my trans group there is an assumption of masculinity due to me being on T which annoys me. The dude/bro/boet used to talk to me is still better than feminine focused language but as I transition I am as frustrated that people assume masc binary gender for me as I was in people assuming femme gender.
I asked a friend to describe me and my gender as they see me, their response gave me hope. Sometimes all you need is one person to get it.
This is what they said:
“The first thing I see is Peter Pan. Normally I identify as Peter Pan because I attract so many lost boys.
When I look at your face I can’t see an age. I can’t see any markers or cues to express how many moons you’ve been on this globe. You appear ageless to me. I think you and I could pass as school boys playing hooky from school. I feel as though you don’t look young though, any more than you look old. Beyond the binary of either or. No dichotomy there. You are some beyond that. Not above or below. Not here or there. Neither. Your eyes speak to me as to whisper hints of agelessness. You look like you could be a thousand years old, grinning at me from lips to eyebrows. You could be immortal and I would believe it. I think about how I want to know you for my entire life and I wonder if you’ll age anymore than I have.
Sometimes you honestly look otherworldly to me. And I don’t mean this disrespectfully, the opposite really. Reverence. Respect. Belief. Sometimes your eyes perk up at the corners and I wonder at times if you have any fey in your blood. Are you a Sprite or a fairy or an imp or a elf? Or are you something I’ve never even read about? Your skin and your wicked ways and your bright eyes leave me truly wondering where your spirit hails from, where does one get magic on their soul like yours? It’s like you found the philosopher’s stone or the spring to eternal youth. Am I saying too much? I feel like your gender expression is enhanced by your ageless appearance and your magical aura.
Honestly when I see you I can’t find any single words to describe you. I feel like the appropriate words would come in odd numbers, 3 or 7 all lined up in a zig zag pattern wiggling serpentine out of my mouth and to your mind.
In some photos I cannot tell if you’re a man or a woman or queer or… Are you a faggot? You look like one with your smirk and black flattop. Are you a dyke who likes queer bodies? Are you a freak? I feel like the answer is yes to all of the above. I see so much more than any one word.
My friend you are gender fluid to me. I guess that word works. Spectrum. Here there and everywhere else. Your expression seems to be seamless. It flows from one to the next to the other to something else entirely.
Ah. I have a word to describe! Enigma. You are a devilishly wrapped up bundle of twists and turns. You can change ONE thing and suddenly You’ve slid to looking different. It is like magic. I love how many different genders I have seen on your face. I’ve seen a sweet lost girl, beaming at me with bangs swept out of your eyes. I’ve seen a kind creature hiding behind bright colors and long hair, grinning impishly. I’ve seen a queer masculine individual with fuzz and whispers of a beard . I’ve seen so much in you. I’ve seen so many gender expressions on your face through photos. Idk if that’s what it means to be nonbinary. You look like every identity rolled into a human body with the mind of a playful trickster.
I think I said freak earlier and I want to let you know I don’t mean it rude or mean. I feel like freak as a word to empower and use blatantly. I am a freak. I don’t fit into very many boxes- my shoulders are too broad. I bust boxes at the corners because I can’t be forced into conforming. I feel like you’d bust boxes as well. I am a freak. I like to play tricks on people, make them turn around and take a second glance and ponder who or what they just spoke to. I live under a big circus like tent, I am the freak show. I am the ring master of freaks. The more the merrier. It is important that people like you and I speak up and identify ourselves as different. A transman experience is not the same as ours. A female identified gay boy isn’t the same either. I feel like it is important that we own our oddness and differences because other freaks need to know it is okay to be different. Not only are we queer different, but we are the queers of the queers. We are the sliver of left overs of the minorities. We are the olives picked out. We are the split and uneaten carrot sticks. We are the crisp pale cabbage leaves beneath the wilted dark green layers. We are the weirdos of the oddballs and honestly if people knew it were an option to be non binary I think they would pick it. Or maybe if there were more examples of nonconformity than maybe IT would pick THEM. Maybe our suffering is meant to encourage the pathway laid down and cemented by our isolated years of tears. Some people have never conceptionalized the idea of neither. Of the third. The other other. It is stellar to me to meet you and know you and love you because I don’t have friends like you. I identify as nonbinary more strongly than I ever have in my life and I give you credit for that. It makes me feel more free and fluid as my fickle heart desires.
I hope these words provide you comfort. Eli, you are not alone. Thank you for standing your ground against the overwhelmingly binary world. Thank your claiming your identity in the face of your life, your parents, and yourself. Thank you for owning yourself because no one else has the right to. You are a gorgeous handsome unique individual and I think your eyes burn differently than anyone else’s. Thank you for holding true to yourself, it gives me strength and inspiration. It gives me so much. Thank you thank you. Please carry on, for yourself and for ever other queer out there who questions the either or and finds something else.
You are fucking awesome.”