Up until recently, I identified strictly as a binary transgender man.
When I first started out, my knowledge was relatively limited and I thought that when you transition, you go all the way to other end of the gender binary. Whatever testosterone brought, I thought I had to just embrace it whether or not I liked them or not. I had to be subjected to whatever was expected of me in my new gender and magically rise up to the occasion.
Cut my hair short? Got it.
Do the heavy lifting? Okay!
Get used to being called a bro? I guess…
Despite being comfortable presenting as masculine, I wouldn’t go out on a limb and call myself a man. There have been incidents where, at the time, I would cringe at people calling me “sir”, “dude” and “bro” and never really know why. For a while, I thought it was just a phase of getting used to passing as male after getting misgendered left and right up until my voice dropped.
Figured it would pass eventually…except it didn’t.
If anything, it persisted for several months and I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was inauthentic. I would involuntarily cringe at being seen as unmistakably male so often and would get very annoyed when my parents would try to push me toward hobbies and interests typically seen as masculine that I did not like. After a while, I started thinking to myself…what’s going on? Did I jump the gun on transition too soon? Was taking hormones the wrong choice? Am I not trans enough for feeling this way? The hormones were doing wonders on my mental health and I feel comfortable in my skin. Am I…dare I say…REGRETTING MY TRANSITION?! I didn’t want to think about that. I worked so hard to get to where I was and for that to be a possibility filled me with dread.
If it wasn’t the hormones or anything, what was it?
Desperate for answers, I took myself to where my journey began – online research. I scoured Google for answers, reading through articles and forums about whether or not there were people out there feeling the same way. At some point during my search, I stumbled upon a word that called out to me: non-binary. Due to my Latino culture and language, I was puzzled by the word and its definition. How could someone not fit inside the gender binary?
After reading through some more on Wikipedia, I’ve read that non-binary was an umbrella for many different types of identities that don’t fit into neat boxes. As I read on, I felt more at peace. This is who I am. And best of all, I am not alone.
I didn’t want to be either a man or a woman: I wanted to be gender neutral. Why confine myself to the gender binary where neither felt right for the sake of others? I have the freedom to choose how I present. I still acknowledge myself as a transgender man but I also identify as non-binary, genderqueer, neutrois, etc.
And the beauty of it is that non-binary can look like anything…or nothing at all.