I’m part of a queer support group where I live that’s comprised as much of parents/family of LGBTQIA+ kids that are looking for knowledge / help processing things as much as queer people directly, and something I’ve noticed come up is that people are sometimes confused how a kid is trans when they didn’t show any signs from a young age that they wanted to be a boy/girl, compared to some of the stories where someone knew from age 4 they were in the wrong body and was known to try to wear a different-gender sibling’s clothes and such.
This is perfectly understandable if you’re new to the trans community, but the “I always thought I was meant to be [gender]” person is only one scenario out of several equally valid possibilities, and a lot of us trans or nonbinary folks didn’t necessarily feel that way. Some people don’t know young, and some people’s gender may legitimately change rather than being one true thing they discover later. So as one of the other people in this scenario, I thought it might be a useful data point to share how I came across my gender :).
Step 1: I was perfectly fine as a girl growing up. Didn’t know about any other possibilities, to be clear, but I don’t have any recollections of feeling like I was born in the wrong body or wanting to be anything different or the like. I did feel uncomfortable around other girls in some situations, but knowing what I do now, that was likely because I’m autistic and they were neurotypical and automatically expected me to be on the same page socially, more than a secret gender thing.
Step 2: Somewhere in like late high school or early college, I started feeling less female. I didn’t reject being a girl, but I didn’t feel like a girl the same way other people were. I think I described it as being a cupcake that only had half the frosting compared to the others in the box, lol. I ended up finding and settling on the term “demigirl” for a bit.
Step 3: Then eventually I slid all the way into agender. It’s like gender just became unimportant to me once I learned more in college – I think I really was female before, but that fact felt unhelpful and unnecessary after a while and I started to see myself as just a person that was defined by many more specific things than some generic gender thingy. At this point I started using both she/her and they/them pronouns.
Step 4: Then my senior year I made a lot more queer friends where being trans/enby was actively celebrated and such, and I decided to start telling people to just use they/them to see how I felt about it. I wasn’t super picky, but enough people would ignore it or not ask in contexts where people don’t share upfront, that the friends who did exclusively use it balanced out with everyone else to actually get the she/they combo I had tried to use before. And then it made me happy, so I kept using it everywhere ever since.
Step 5: And then in the last year or so, I’ve started just identifying with “nonbinary” rather than agender. Agender is part of the nonbinary umbrella, so it doesn’t necessarily change the meaning. But also I feel like I gained more gender again, if that makes any sense. Nonbinary is something specific to me rather than a synonym for agender. Perhaps this is a bit political, I’m not sure. When the intensity of political assaults on your community makes your identify a “big issue” simply by nature of you existing, and it’s important to you to fight said political assaults, that pressure can force it to become an active, important part of yourself when it wouldn’t necessarily have been if you were allowed to just live your life without others making a big deal about it. Or maybe my sense of gender is just shifting on its own.
So yeah. That’s where I am in the progression currently. Will it still be the same in a couple years? I think so now, but who actually knows for certain? Might change some more.
Thoughts? Leave a comment!