Coming out as non-binary

Kat in crèche.

Happy Pride Month, right?

Growing up I knew I was different. Quite different.

Don’t let me get too deep into Lady Gaga lyrics here, but I was born this way. While some of my experiences in life definitely impact who I am, correlation does not equal causation. Talking about gender (especially in the context of work) may seem a little TMI or OTT, but it’s vital for people of diverse genders.

Let’s skip to more recent times. I identify as genderqueer, or non-binary, and use they/them pronouns.

I am what is referred to as AFAB — assigned female at birth. I don’t see myself as female, but I don’t see myself as male either. I see myself as in the middle. To be honest, I think people close to me also see me this way. The fact that I look female causes me quite a lot of dysphoria. My personal style is partially an attempt to look less female, and more ambiguous. I’m still constantly read as female, and further to that, often labeled (by others) as a butch lesbian. This is something I don’t identify with at all… and bothers me quite a bit.

How long have I felt this way? Always. How long have I had the knowledge, confidence and ability to accept it, understand it, act on it and speak about it? Not until recently.

In August, I’ll be seeing a gender specialist. I’ll be continuing the journey of discovering new parts of my identity, and bringing my physical appearance in line with who I am. Only a small section of people know about this part of me, but I don’t hide it. Now, I’m coming out.

Coincidentally, since my mid twenties I’ve been sprouting excessive facial hair. For a long time, in an attempt to ease confusion and questions (perhaps some internalised transphobia?), I obsessively hid and removed it. It caused me a lot of embarrassment. I referred to it as ‘my shame’ with my partner. Since coming to terms with my identity, I’ve let it go free-range on weekends. Then? I forgot to remove it for work. Now? It’s very visible… and I don’t care. I welcome it. I’m excited to slowly be able to present the way I feel.

Now is the time I want to be completely transparent about it. Not just to aid my journey, but perhaps to help others in similar situations. Your gender, your identity? It’s important. You have the right to present as who you are. You have a right to be who you are, and it’s always important and valid, in every space. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t.