This post is a list of my gripes about being nonbinary, and will probably be written in an angry tone. If you have done one of the things I’m complaining about, please do not think that I’m angry at you. And it’s totally fine to skip this post if you think reading it will not be a positive experience for you; that is not something you should feel bad for.
I: My Identity.
Many of the words describing nonbinary genders are very vague, and while I don’t fault anyone for identifying with a specific label, or having specific definitions associated with each label in your mind, you have to recognize that no one agrees on the definitions for all these labels, so I will explain my identity descriptively.
I was born with what appears to be mostly male biological features (1). I was assigned to the male gender upon birth. About 1/4 of days I consciously identify as a male (a cisgendered male, you could say). About 1/6 of days I consciously identify as female (a transgendered female, you could say). The rest of the days of my life, I don’t really notice my gender specifically. Whether we want to call this days of being genderless, or agender, or whether you want to consider this days of being male-by-default, or perhaps I’m just not very observant, is up in the air. I might update this as soon as I can figure out which one it is.
When gender is expressly mentioned – in almost any discussion – I usually become aware of how I’m identifying on that day. I don’t think I’ve ever felt both genders at the same time, or a third gender, or only small amounts of a single gender. The label I use for myself is genderfluid, and that’s what I’ll use for the rest of this post. If you think my identity is best described by a different term, please just mentally replace genderfluid with that term, and please also comment with that opinion. I am interested to hear from people about this.
The most annoying part of this genderfluidity is the self doubt. On days when I identify as male, I wonder whether I’m merely stupid and pretending to be genderfluid. On days when I identify as female, I wonder if I am actually a trans woman, and I would be happier if I just spent my entire life as female. This is by far the most annoying thought that I never can get out of my head. This is also why telling people who have identities such as this that they’re making this stuff up is particularly damaging. We’re already thinking that we’re making this shit up – we don’t need your help. We’ve already considered that we’re crazy, and determined that we’re not just making it up for attention.
Another thing that I just can’t shake is the fact that I will never be able to really present as a woman in public. If I want to drive, or if I want to go to a bar, or a miscellany of other things, I will have to account for the fact that my ID says that my sex is male. I can’t order a drink at a bar while presenting as a woman. If I’m pulled over by a cop, I will be immediately outed by my drivers license. People who are transgender but identify as male or female have this problem to an extent, but they have an eventual solution. Most states allow people to change their official sex; no state allows people to mark down nonbinary genders on documents.
This is part of a larger rant, and that is that there is no end game for me. I can’t transition, because then I’d still spend a lot of my time in the wrong physical body. I mean, I’m hoping every day for a superintelligent AI explosion, because it’s the only way medical technology will possibly advance fast enough for me to wake up every day and choose my gender based on how I feel.
As another thing, I’ve seen a lot of posts on tumblr that talk about positivity for certain genders. Often, people will comment that to be inclusive, they should express that positivity for all people, rather than for a specific gender. The argument against this is that every gender can have their own posts! Which is great in theory, but when 49% of the population is one gender and 50% of the population is another and 1% is something else, it means I will never see a positivity post specified towards me. I have seen male positivity posts and female positivity posts thousand of times. I have – once – seen a nonbinary positivity post. The solution to this is to stop segregating your positivity by gender. I understand the intention behind this, and I don’t think that you intend to hurt us, but you’re throwing us under the bus (2).
Lastly, I really want people in the MOGAI (Marginalized Orientations, Genders, And Intersex) community to stop excluding people who seem straight, cisgendered, and endosex. Yes, it’s not their community, but when you yell at someone who seems like they’re this identity, you could be yelling at someone who is still in the closet. We really should not make people come out of the closet to participate in our communities, and if we have to let in straight, cis, and endosex people to do this, then we have to let straight, cis, and endosex people in.
If you’ve read this, thank you. It means a lot to me.
Here are some footnotes I didn’t want to include in the body of the text:
1) Some people dislike the term “male biological features,” but I think arguments against it are usually based on gross misunderstandings.
2) I wonder if mixed race people feel thrown under the bus when similar arguments happen on posts about race. I know that I often feel this way with posts about judaism.