Forever Transitioning: Being Non-binary in The World As We Know It

Forever Transitioning: Being Non-binary in The World As We Know It

Making efforts to be your authentic self is great until you realize that the world is not built to accommodate your truth. It’s confusing and painful when things aren’t going according to plan, but it’s not your fault. Here’s how I cope with that jarring reality check.

When I made the decision to start taking testosterone injections two years ago, I felt hopeful. I’ve dreamed of transitioning since I was a young teenager and it was finally becoming a reality. I looked forward to my voice getting deeper and growing facial hair; looking more ‘masculine’. And when I got my chest flattened last year, I was so relieved because I didn’t need to wear a painful binder for hours on end anymore just for some relief from dysphoria. Things were falling into place and I was living my truth more and more each day, just as I’d imagined. But here’s the catch — I’m not the transgender man you might be picturing.

Since I was a child, I’ve had no qualms about wearing clothes from the girls’ section. I loved playing with barbies and pushing around plastic babies in a stroller. When I wore my first bra and got my first period at age 12, I was excited. I didn’t have any strong aversion to any of these ‘traditionally feminine’ traits. And for the most part, I still don’t. So what brought about the change that sent me spiraling into debilitating dysphoria and the desire to start transitioning with testosterone and get top surgery? I’m not quite sure. But people change, and I feel great living my truth now.

‘My truth’ — what does this mean? Right now, it’s about looking at myself in the mirror and recognizing the person I see. It’s about saying, “I’m queer” and owning that statement, not running from it. But this truth gets warped when people on the streets stare at me as I go about my day, trying to analyze what I am; they fumble between calling me ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’. I begin feeling like an imposter despite objectively knowing that I don’t have to force myself into boxes to make other people comfortable.

I have a constant internal monologue that sounds like, “Is this really who you are? Things could be much easier if you just fit into the binary and people knew what to call you. You’d look conventionally attractive if you just got rid of that facial and body hair. Just wear men’s clothes and make things convenient for others.” You could say I’m my own internet troll.

It’s not all bad though, because along with these mean thoughts in my head, there are also moments of reassurance. The way I find motivation from others who don’t fit the binary, I am aware that my presence can bring comfort to others too. I know that there may be queer kids who need to see themselves represented in a positive and confident way, and I am happy to be that beacon for them. But at the end of the day, I feel my energy being drained being an instrument for both confused non-LGBTQIA+ people and the hopeful youth. And as selfish as it may sound, I just want to exist without being scrutinized; to go a day without feeling laser beams from people’s eyes.

This is far from the wonderland I thought transitioning would be. When someone says, “Be yourself!” do they understand how heavy that statement is? To completely be me would be euphoric and utopic to another level, but it’s not free of cost. I must pay the price of being perceived in crass ways by gaping onlookers, and being used as a resource bank by curious peers. Mais, c’est la vie. I wouldn’t trade transitioning for anything else.

As a transgender non-binary person who doesn’t fit into general definitions of man or woman, I will perpetually be on the road with no fixed destination. Maybe my truth will be different tomorrow, maybe it’ll stay the same. But if it will make living authentically more easy for the next generation of queer kids, I’ll bear the distress. As long as there are moments of respite and a sense of community no matter how small, I’ll learn to turn these unpleasant feelings into something positive for the sake of posterity.


Read More: A Tale Of Tattoos, Piercings, And Being Non-binary – Come Let’s Talk About Freedom And A Genderless Future

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