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The Joys of Being Transmasculine Non-Binary

woman holding up a transgender flag and placard at a protest or rally
by Denin Lawley @ Unsplash

Content warning: the following article contains mentions of gender dysphoria and other upsetting themes which might be distressing to some readers

My Journey

I began questioning my gender identity at a young age. In primary school I was a bit of a tomboy; more interested in playing football with the boys than playing with the girls. I remember that I hated my long hair and begged my mum to let me get it cut short over and over. By the time I was around 13, that dream came true, I had my hair cut short and had found the term “androgynous” online and decided that’s what I was; not entirely feminine and not entirely masculine but a mix of both. With the blessing from my mother, I started wearing boys' clothes (though she admits that she believed it was just a phase at the time).

By the time I was around 15 or 16, I began repressing all these thoughts and feelings and started dressing hyperfeminine. I began convincing myself that my boyish days were over in a desperate attempt to fit in with other girls and to get boys to like me. With the prospect of college ahead, I longed to be accepted by my peers.

Then the lockdown happened during the covid pandemic, and like many transgender people, my issues with my gender identity were resurrected. Removed from the constraints of a society where I felt like I had to fit in, I began experimenting with my gender expression once more. Again, I cut my hair and began to present more masculine and I discovered the term non-binary which I felt fit (perhaps this is the term my younger self had been searching for all along). I changed my name before coming to university, where I had even more freedom to reinvent myself and express myself authentically. Later, I came across the label transmasculine non-binary, which I felt was a much better fit as I felt as though my gender identity aligned more with masculinity but was still not entirely male.

I came out to my parents in April of 2022, which didn’t go particularly well or particularly bad either (they’re trying their best which is all I can ask). Now, over a year later, I continue my journey and learn more about myself along the way.

Finding Joy in Being Trans

It’s easy to discuss at length the many difficult aspects of being trans: the dysphoria, the constant fear and danger of being out in public, the discrimination we face every day and the loneliness. The list goes on. This existence isn’t easy by any means but as Riley Black says,

And that is something to be proud of. Here are just some of the things that I try to remind myself to take joy and pride in as a trans non-binary individual:

Gender Euphoria

There is nothing more gratifying than seeing yourself in the mirror and finding what you see aligns with how you feel inside. The happiness that comes with gender euphoria is something to cherish.

Living Authentically

Being able to live as I truly am is a liberating and powerful way to live. Being able to express myself regardless of people’s opinions is power and not something that many people have the confidence to do.

Having the Power of Choice

Being able to define my own gender, choose my own name and being able to invent and craft my appearance however I like gives me freedom and joy. This is especially empowering since I feel like I spent a big chunk of my life repressing who I truly am.

Being Able to Experiment with Gender

Not being restrained to male or female but existing in the liminal space between both. Being both and neither at once is fun and means I’m not restrained by binary gender categories.

Destroying the Binary Gender System

This relates to the point above, but my existence shows the faults of binary gender and reveals that gender roles and expectations such as “girls like pink and boys like blue” are unreasonable. Gender is much more complex than the binary.

The Community

Being a part of a community that is kind and loving and always willing to protect one another is a great source of support. I also have the pleasure of experiencing chosen family. Having other trans and non-binary friends makes me feel accepted and loved; feelings I’ve not always had the pleasure of experiencing.

An Introspective Journey

Ultimately, being transgender is about discovering yourself. It’s about learning to accept and love yourself for who you are and learning to have the resilience to be able to express your true self despite all the hardships that come your way. Times are harder than ever for transgender and non-binary people, but we are so strong. I encourage other transgender people to take the time to think about all the power they hold, to appreciate the little joys and to recognise how far you have come in your own journey. ♥


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