Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
River
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Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:17 pm

I was born "female" and given a feminine name.

I have never really identified myself as "feminine". I wore dresses when I was under six and that was because I literally thought that I had to. I've never liked the color pink, but I used to say that it was my favorite color in order to make my family happy (my favorite "color" at the time was clear lol). And I cringe when I am called she/her. I wear sports bras to flatten my chest some.
On the other hand, I don't identify as "masculine". I don't like men's fashion and I don't want to be called he/him. I don't want a masculine body or a penis.
I have read other stories where a non-binary person strongly objects their given gender and is only non-binary as a kind transitional period. This makes me feel invalid because it just isn't what I want. I just want to be non-binary because I feel more comfortable that way.

Now, here is why I feel slightly unsure

There is a kid in my grade who is also non-binary. I am afraid to come out because then everyone will think I am copying them. I do not want to be a copycat. When I tried to come out as non-binary to her and I felt like she was trying to talk me down. I said that I was trying to convey that I am trying to appear more masculine she said that "As a society, our open-mindedness has come so far that it is now popular to dress as a different gender just to be rebellious." and I do not want to just do what is popular. I want to feel comfortable.

I don't know how to even start. Start what? Telling people that I'm not a girl? How?
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Heather
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Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Heather » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:24 am

From one nonbinary person to another, hello! I'm sorry you've been having such a hard time of it (in ways many of us so often do). Also, I love your signature line tremendously. :)

I would suggest you trust yourself in terms of what you know about your own identity, rather than worrying about copying someone else or being perceived that way. Honestly, even if there was some of that in here, so much of how everyone performs, understands or talks about gender is based in mimicry in the first place: even our idea there is such a thing as gender is inherited, you know?

The bias about being nonbinary you're talking about -- about it being a phase -- is very similar to the one like that about bisexuality, and they're both bollocks. The idea that only poles of a binary system, and binary systems, period, can be fixed places, and that any kind of fluidity is just about movement towards them is just that: an idea. And a wrong-headed one at that. You know from experiencing this directly: that's not how this works.

I'm sorry the other nonbinary person at school behaved that way with you and responded that way to your disclosure. That sounded very dismissive to me, and I bet that experience felt isolating and crappy.

Let's see about troubleshooting this for you: what do you want -- what are you looking for -- in coming out? And can you think of anyone you might try coming out to first who you can for sure or probably count on to be acceptive, supportive and to validate your sense of you identity instead of looking to invalidate or dismiss it?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

River
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
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My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: pansexual
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:34 pm

Heather wrote:I'm sorry the other nonbinary person at school behaved that way with you and responded that way to your disclosure. That sounded very dismissive to me, and I bet that experience felt isolating and crappy.


There's a misunderstanding here- I was talking about trying to come out to my mom but it deleted the sentence and wrote it again and forgot to say it was my mom lol
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

River
not a newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: O frick i am making people open up their minds
My primary language: American English
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: pansexual
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:54 pm

Heather wrote:Let's see about troubleshooting this for you: what do you want -- what are you looking for -- in coming out? And can you think of anyone you might try coming out to first who you can for sure or probably count on to be acceptive, supportive and to validate your sense of you identity instead of looking to invalidate or dismiss it?


Well, I want people to stop calling me she and her, and I want to come up with a less feminine name to go by, at least for now. I think my friend Nevada might be a good place to start, I've already explained to her that I'm bi/pansexual (is there a difference between the two?{boy I sure do love pans}) and she seems pretty cool about stuff like this. (I feel like my first instinct should be to go to my parents, but it's not. weird)

I remember that during the 7th grade... introduction? The woman speaking was talking about how, if you have a nickname that you would like to go by, they (teachers, staff) will call you by that. Neat. She also said that there was a kid transitioning from feminine to masculine and that they will be using the pronouns they/them. This was a weird half-paragraph... what was I saying? Oh, identity.

I don't know what to do with my family. Mostly they are conservative (but my immediate family rocks) and get uncomfortable about topics like gay marriage. Oof. They won't disown me or stop liking me, but it'll get so weird.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Sam W
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Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:59 am

Hi River,

Coming out to your friend who you know has been supportive in the past sounds like an excellent idea! And it's okay if your first instinct was to come out to them instead of your parents. Even when you have a good relationship with your parents, sometimes the idea of coming out to them as nonbinary feels daunting, so you get to be the boss of who you tell and when based on your own comfort level. If you'd like, we can offer you some resources to help you with that coming out process (we're also happy to have you use the space here to brainstorm how you want to come out to different people if that would help you).

With your extended family, it may be that there ends up being some weirdness in how they choose to react to your identity. But the good news it that it sounds like your immediate family will support you, which means they can also act as a buffer with your extended family if it comes to that. Right now, it sounds like it would be most helpful to focus on coming out to the people close to you, so I think it's okay to set aside how you'll bring this up to your extended family for the time being (not that those worries aren't important or valid, but more that it can help to focus your energy on the people closest to you first).

I'm glad to hear your school district has at least some structures in place for helping people use the correct names and pronouns for each other. Are you thinking you'd like to start telling people to address you with a different name or pronouns? Or are you still in the stage of figuring out the name you want people to use?

River
not a newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: O frick i am making people open up their minds
My primary language: American English
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: pansexual
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:14 pm

Well, I didn't bother yesterday and now I feel like I am dying from a cold but here we go!

I haven't come out to my friend yet because there hasn't been a good time for it really (we mostly see each other in school and I'd probably be embarrassed if someone overheard me). I think I'll come out to friends first and then my parents.

I don't really know how to bring it up? Like, there's one of two routes I could take:

Friend: so you know how when you-
Me: -I'M NONBINARY

or

Me: So you know how {name} isn't a girl?
Friend: Uhh yeah
Me: Not to be all like 'me too' but ME TOO!

And I was thinking about talking to the counselor about it (dun worry all verr nice peoples) but I don't know what I want first, exactly. I don't like how feminine my name is, but i'm so used to it! And I want to be called they, but what about other words, like daughter and sister?
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Mo
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Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Mo » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:00 pm

Do you feel like you could just find a natural pause in a conversation you're having, or even tell your friend you want to talk with them about something, and then say "I wanted to tell you I'm nonbinary" or whatever feels natural to you? You could talk about it in relation to the other nonbinary person you know, as you mention in your second example there, but because nonbinary identities can mean different things to different people, it might help for you to start with not just "I'm nonbinary" but also "and this is what that means to me" so folks who know another nonbinary person understand that not everyone experiences it in the same way, and folks who don't can get a little mini-primer.

I know a few nonbinary people who want to be called just "child" or "sibling" and don't have specific terms for themselves beyond that. In terms of names, this is where I think talking to yourself can be helpful! Any time you think of a name that you think sounds good, take some time to say it out loud. Picture people calling you that, or sending you mail with that name, or getting it written on a birthday cake...does it feel good? Does it feel like it fits? It might take some time to find a name that feels good to you. It's ok, too, to try one out and move on if it doesn't quite feel right after a while.

River
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:58 pm

I keep psyching myself up to come out to someone (parent/friend) but then I chicken out and subconsciously convince myself that I am wrong, that I am a girl, only to repeat it all again later. I am not a girl, but... I guess I'm nervous? Maybe it's because I've read other stories on here where it didn't go so well that's making me all AAAAGH about it. My friends and parents are very supportive people, but... maybe I'm not ready to come out yet? This idea just makes me feel invalid, though, like, if I really wasn't a girl I would have no hesitation.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Sam W
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Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:18 pm

It's totally normal to be nervous in a coming out situation! Being open about these kinds of issues can feel really loaded even when you trust the people you want to tell. Being hesitant or nervous doesn't mean your feelings about your gender are invalid; it just means there are some nervous feelings tagging along with them. You can be 100% certain about something and still feel nervous about sharing it.

Mo gave some great advice above, and I'll just add that if you haven't looked at it yet, this article might be helpful ( it has trans in the title but is meant for all gender nonconforming folks). http://www.scarleteen.com/trans_summer_ ... his_closet

River
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:44 am

I've already got into the "But there are only two kinds of parts!" argument before, and inevitably this is going to happen again. Any advice on not letting this kind of stuff get to me/this specific argument?

The other nonbinary kid at school is still getting called she and they still have their old name in the school records, and EVERY TIME we have a substitute teacher they have to correct the teacher when they are taking attendance. Ugh. I don't want this to happen to me.

Because we only have like 5 weeks left of school I think I'll just come publicly next school year. Every school year feels like a fresh start!
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

River
not a newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: O frick i am making people open up their minds
My primary language: American English
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: pansexual
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:45 am

I read that and all the other trans summer school articles. Rad.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

River
not a newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: O frick i am making people open up their minds
My primary language: American English
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: pansexual
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:35 am

River wrote:Because we only have like 5 weeks left of school I think I'll just come publicly next school year. Every school year feels like a fresh start!


I mean come out publicly, like to the whole school.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Heather
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Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Heather » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:50 am

That's a pretty ginormous coming out, for anyone. That way of coming out can be pretty precarious -- especially without having come out to at least a couple people before doing something so public so you have at least a small support team if things go awry, or to help you with anyone who isn't great about it.

Obviously, you know you best of all, so you are going to be the expert on what you think will work best for you, but personally, I'd advise a more gradual approach. It can just be really hard to be out and come out very publicly to a very big group all at once, even when you already have had the experience of coming out to one or two knowingly safe people before.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

River
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Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:43 am

Yep that makes sense. I'll come out to a bunch of peeps over the summer as well.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

River
not a newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:44 pm

We did it bois. I made a hECKING POSTER and put it on my door and my mom saw it when she woke me up. She told me that this is a big thing for a parent to process and she needs time to think. No one else knows.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Mo
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Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Mo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:16 pm

Great job! How are you feeling right now?

River
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:35 pm

Kind of nervous and annoyed because she hasn't said anything about it since then.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

River
not a newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:43 pm

But other than that pretty relieved to get it off my chest.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
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Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Heather » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:14 am

That’s a big deal! Fingers crossed here for your Mom to come to you today supportive and accepting, wherever she is at in processing the information. ❤️
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

River
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:54 pm

She hasn't so far, she isn't even home right now. She isn't even thinking about it when calling me she, my given name, daughter, sister, etc.

Yes, I definitely have a name I want to go by. My given name feels dead.I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

River
not a newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:48 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: O frick i am making people open up their minds
My primary language: American English
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: pansexual
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:05 pm

She actually called me the name I want! She even called me they! Only once today, though.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 6672
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
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Location: Chicago, IL and Vashon Island, WA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Heather » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:45 am

That's great!

I get that what will undoubtedly be -- it almost always is -- a glacial pace of adjustment from people, especially important folks like parents, is frustrating. All too many of us have been there. But these small milestones and victories can add up, and I hope you can use them to hold yourself up!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

brittainee
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Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby brittainee » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:36 pm

I just wanted to say I can relate to how you feel completely. For a long time I didn't-and sometimes don't, understand my gender identity and lemme tell you I'm pretty old, so for you to start to understand it while still in school is amazing! You did a great thing by starting with your parents and maybe waiting a bit to come out to your entire school (which very brave I was afraid of being burned alive for coming out as demi even though no one knew what it was) also to answer your question there is a difference between bi and pan (bi is two, pan is more than two genders that you are attracted to, most people say bi is male and female, while pan is any and all) any updates how how it's going so far?

River
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Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby River » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:55 pm

Om, well basically right after my last post my mom called me into the living room after she had taken the poster and gave it to my dad, and then he read it and was really confused about exactly what it meant and then me and my mom had to explain it to him. My mom and sisters sometimes call me a gender-neutral name I made up for myself and with mom and dad there's an occasional use of they Instead of she but reall I'm not seeing any major changes.
Very ultra mega open minded

except when it comes to serial killers

but seriously even if you identify as an attack helicopter follow your dreams

Siân
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Re: Myself and Others Convincing me not to Come Out

Unread postby Siân » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:00 am

Hey River,

I'm sure it's frustrating to feel like you've put yourself out there and not much has changed. To me, it also sounds really positive that your mom was trying to help you explain this to your dad, and that they are trying out your name and pronouns. As you mentioned before, they are probably doing a whole lot of processing just now, and I'm sorry it all feels so slow.

Do you feel like it's a good time to talk to one or more members of your family and have a conversation along the lines of "I get that you're adjusting and it's great that you are trying out the name and pronouns, but for me this is an always thing not a sometimes thing - can we try being more consistent?".


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