There is a distinct form of pain that comes with feeling like there is no way for your external persona to represent the person inside, particularly being gender nonconforming.
For many, many years now, society has created definitions of what it means to belong to a certain gender. Society has assigned character traits to define what it means to born as a certain sex.
Yet for years now, there has been a portion of the population that has not fit within the gender assigned to them at birth. This sector of the population generally falls under the transgender umbrella, but there are multiple identities within this umbrella of gender nonconforming — from transgender to genderqueer to gender-fluid.
Though the emergence of these labels has done so much good for the people who identify with them, somehow society has also managed to adapt faster than a horror movie monster and create definitions of what it means to use one of these labels.
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These words were created to find a home for people who struggled with the label assigned to them at birth. These words were created to remind people who are transgender or gender non-conforming or non-binary or gender-fluid that their existence is valid and true — that they deserve to be comfortable with who they are.
However, over time, these words have devolved into labels that now come with their own preconceived notions which, at times, create more issues than they solve.
For people who do identify in the transgender/non-binary community, there is already a long battle to fight with yourself in coming to terms with your own body and finding a way to balance the truth you feel inside with the way you represent yourself on the outside.
While that battle is hard enough, the new definitions society have created has established a war where now, trans and non-binary are not only fighting themselves to feel a sense of normalcy but are fighting society for one.
Ever since coming out as gender-fluid, I have been told more than once “but you’re a girl” and that because I present in a ‘traditionally feminine’ manner, I am “the source of all of my own problems.”
For my entire life, I have been fighting to find a reason to represent why I never felt ‘normal,’ and when I heard about the non-binary community, I felt seen in a way that I never thought would be possible.
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I was always prepared for the internal struggles that would come with my physical self not always being accurate to how I felt on the inside, for the fights that would come with people who had no desire to evolve with society. I was not prepared for having to fight to be ‘non-binary enough.’
Words have meanings, and neither the meaning of non-binary nor the meaning of gender-fluid is “present yourself in an androgynous way.”
To co-opt words that exist to provide people a community and a way to finally see themselves as who they truly are into an exclusionary word that only allows the ‘right’ trans and non-binary people into it is cruel.
Binary gender norms are a hard enough battle to fight, there is no need to create these additional gender norms on the exact names that were meant to evolve us beyond said binaries.