Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
easternstar
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Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Unread postby easternstar » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:18 am

Hi, I'm new here so sorry if this isn't the right place to post or anything. I have been questioning my gender a lot and I don't know what to do. For a while, I have identified as nonbinary. When I found out the term it really made sense to me because I've always felt really uncomfortable being seen as a girl or being grouped with all-female groups and stuff like that. I also am not good at most stereotypical "female" things and it really bothers me when people expect me to be good at them. I'm not sure if I feel bad because I'm not a girl, but I know a lot of women aren't good at those things and that doesn't make them not women.

I also feel uncomfortable with my body sometimes (like I REALLY hate getting my period more than most people that I know). but in general I like the body that I have and I don't think I want to change it very much. I don't know if this means I am trans but don't want to transition, nonbinary, or am I just cis but don't like doing stereotypical "girl" things?

I know everyone is probably going to say "we can't tell you you just have to figure it out for yourself", but I swear I have been thinking about this stuff a LOT and even tried experimenting with what I wear a little bit, but I still don't know. Are there other ways I can experiment to figure out what my gender is? I want to have some kind of "answer" that will make me feel better about myself.

Sam W
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Re: Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:57 am

Hi easternstar,

This is definitely the right place for this question!

So, you're right that the ultimate answer is that you have to figure out what gender identity feels right to you for yourself. But that doesn't mean that aren't other tools you can use or places you can look for guidance. One resource I really recommend is the GenderQuest workbook. It has a bunch of different exercises to help you figure out what gender looks like for you. You can even find an online version of it here: https://timetothrivetherapy.com/wp-cont ... rkbook.pdf. Scarleteam member Mo also offers some really good advice on gender confusion in this article: Gender Confusion: Being Unsure Doesn't Have to Be a Bummer.

Another thing that might be helpful to think about is that nonbinary as a tern encompasses a lot of different identities. Genderfluid, genderqueer, agender, and many others all fall under the nonbinary umbrella. Have you had much of chance to dig into the different nonbinary identities and see if there's one that resonates with you? Too, if you've been looking into nonbinary communities, have you run across anyone who describes feelings about their gender that are similar to yours?

I do want to add that you're right when you say that not being good a stereotypically feminine things, or disliking that those things are expected of you, doesn't automatically mean someone isn't a woman. But it sounds like those feelings are just one part of a larger set of discomforts that are cluing in you into the fact that something about your gender. It might help to not only look at what things make you uncomfortable, but which ones make you comfortable or happy. For instance, if you could express your gender however you wanted, including things like pronouns and dress, what would that look like?

Gone.Sorry.
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Re: Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:47 pm

Hi there, easternstar!

I'm sorry to say that you're absolutely right: this is something that only you can determine and answer for yourself.

That's the incredibly frustrating thing about identity. It's not some simple algebra problem where you can stick in a couple of variables and get a sure set of answers. It's not some easily diagnosable thing with your body where you can take a quick test and confirm "oh yup, just what I thought, I'm [___]". It's something... innate within us. Intangible. Indescribable, even, sometimes.

Figuring out and determining and coming to terms with who we are and what labels we use is often a slow, arduous, confusing journey. There is not some big "aha!" moment of sureness for many, many folk. Many of us spend years thinking about, exploring, and sitting on how we feel before deciding "no, this still doesn't fit me" or "yes, this actually does fit me". I know when you're just looking for confirmed answers that this can be disappointing to hear, but sometimes the most of what it takes is time. The time to allow yourself to fully immerse yourself in thinking of yourself as one identity. The time to allow yourself to let go of your doubts and any internalized cissexism. The time to accept that unsureness isn't a bad thing. The time to accept that the only person who can truly validate your identity... is you.

I totally get how you're feeling, so I hope I'm not coming off as flippant or dismissive. I remember when I was questioning. For months, I desperately read through every single identity term I could get my hands on. I repeatedly went over the sparse amounts of stories and vents and experiences of nonbinary people that nonbinary people were sharing. I searched so hard for that term that would just click with me and prove that I wasn't just making my feelings up, wasn't just looking for attention, wasn't just overthinking it, wasn't just lying to myself. If I could find a term, maybe it could prove that I was actually valid enough to matter.
But nothing ever just "clicked" for me. There was no aha moment. No perfect, specific gender. No great wealth of experiences that people shared that I completely and totally related to. There was just an inkling. A discomfort of thinking of myself as a man or a woman. A longing to just be nonbinary and be valid. For months I tortured myself, denying that my feelings were enough to go by and demanding a term that would 100% perfectly fit me and encapsulate my gender feelings (which I couldn't even totally figure out, much less articulate - so this was a highly demanding ask of myself!).
Until finally, I got tired of feeling so bad about myself. I got tired of doubting myself and making me doubt myself more. I got tired of looking for some magical moment of perfect understanding that just wasn't going to exist for me. So, I let go of my anger and stopped holding myself back - because now, looking back, I can see the only one who was holding me back from identifying as nonbinary was myself. Even though I didn't think it really fit me, even though I didn't think I was valid, even though I felt like I might just be doing it for attention, I let myself identify as nonbinary because there was a part of me that really, really wanted to.
It was not until about three years later when I got to talking to somebody else and we were bonding over being on the asexual spectrum and he mentioned also being agender/not really his gender assigned at birth that, without thinking, I excitedly shared that I was also nonbinary, and we got to openly, without judgement, talk about our gender feelings, that I realized I had finally accepted myself as nonbinary.

Trying to find that one thing that proves you're "really" [x] identity is often a part of holding yourself back from actually accepting that you are [x] identity, really.

You don't have to prove to anyone that you are [x] identity or that your identity is valid - especially not those who demand that you must. That's not what our gender nor our sexuality is.

These parts of us are incredibly personal. The labels we choose to use are less based on "answers" and "facts" and more based on feelings, emotions, bonds, and communication. Ask yourself:
- What do I want to identify as? (Wanting to be something is often a sign that you are that something.)
- What do I not want to identify as? (Often, figuring out exactly what we want can be confusing, so it can help to instead just rule some things out. Any progress in understanding yourself is progress in understanding yourself.)
- What gives me the most comfort in terms of labeling? What does it make you happiest to identify as?
- What gives me the least discomfort in terms of labeling?
- What helps me best communicate to others how I feel?
- What helps me best connect to a community of people to which I have similar experiences/face similar issues?

There is no right or wrong way to label. It's okay to use one label now and use another one later. It's okay to use multiple labels. It's okay to just label as questioning. It's okay to even just disregard labels.

Even though you are not a teen, transgenderteensurvivalguide on tumblr is an excellent resource for all things trans. I'm not a teen either, and I rely on them for resources a lot of the time. They have a What Am I? masterpost that I think could be helpful to check out, as well as the accompanying links in the read through. They include a breakdown of how to start questioning and exploring your gender as well.

It might also be helpful to your journey if you looked into gender incongruence and gender euphoria. transgenderteensurvivalguide also has a pretty amazing breakdown of those two topics.

Hope this helps a bit!

easternstar
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Re: Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Unread postby easternstar » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:58 pm

Thank you for these replies. I still feel sort of unsure, but I guess like I'm more okay with that or understand how that could be okay. I think the GenderQuest workbook is the type of thing I was looking for. I just want a structured way to explore these thoughts more. Also, I haven't really looked into different nonbinary identities...I sort of just started identifying as nonbinary because it made more sense than anything else, even though I didn't totally know what it meant. Now that I'm looking into it more I feel like I might be neutrois, although I feel like I will still keep identifying as just nonbinary right now.

Also horriblegoose, thank you for sharing your experiences. I really relate to them. I keep searching for something that will mean I'm not making all of this up, even though I definitely don't FEEL like I am making it up. I also don't know that many other nonbinary people so I want to try to meet more of them. but every time I talk to someone who is nonbinary I usually feel like we share a lot in common and our ideas of our gender are more similar. Anyway thank you both for the response, it makes me feel a lot better just to talk about it with someone.

Sam W
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Re: Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:27 am

Hi easternstar,

I'm so glad just talking here has been helpful! And horriblegoose, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and those awesome resources.

Easternstar, can you give me a sense of the places you've looked for nonbinary community? For instance, have you checked out online spaces? Is there a local LGBT center or meet-up that you can check out?

easternstar
newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:37 am
My pronouns: they/them
Location: Delaware

Re: Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Unread postby easternstar » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:30 pm

Thanks Sam. I haven't really checked out online spaces but I want to look into them more. Do you have any suggestions on places to start? I don't really go on social media much or anything so I'm not used to meeting people online.

There's only one LGBT center near me, and I do sort of want to check it out, but they mostly seem to have specific identity-based events that I'm not sure really apply to me. They don't have a nonbinary support group, and the only transmasculine support group (which I think is the closest thing they have that I might fit into), is for trans men of color, and I'm white. I'm going to keep looking though.

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 6743
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:25 am

I do! One space is actually right here at Scarleteen. We definitely have other nonbinary users, and you're always welcome to start conversations in different parts of the boards to ask questions or just talk about things with other users.

In terms of other online spaces, both Tumblr and Discord seem to have decent sized nonbinary communities. They do also have the pitfall that all social media seems to where there are some jerks running around, but they could definitely be worth looking into.

It's awesome that you've already been looking into the LGBT center! As a starting place, would it make sense just to go check out out the space and get a feel for it? Most centers are open even when they're not hosting events, and have things like libraries and hang-out spots that you might find helpful.

Gone.Sorry.
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Re: Trans, nonbinary, or something else?

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:27 pm

I'm glad you could relate to my experience, easternstar! I think it's a pretty common one that unfortunately just doesn't get talked about much, and as such, so many people are left feeling alone and left out.

Have you searched around facebook and meetup.com for any other local queer/trans groups in your area?

Some places you might check out on tumblr are neutrois, nonbinaryresource, whatsnew-lgbtq, realtransfacts, transitioning-nb, and genderfriends. You might also check out OutOfThisBinary on youtube, though they're now inactive.


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