Ellie Rebecca, thanks so much for sharing this. It’s vulnerable and authentic and unafraid. In a world that often shames trans & non-binary individuals for being “confused,” and therefore, “not right,” your words here are so important. We should be letting people know that it is okay to feel confused. It’s normal. And being confused (or questioning) doesn’t make someone any “less trans” (or “less non-binary,” or “less LGBQ” and so on).

I think that, in general, trans non-binary people feel this a lot harder than trans binary people do. When my own child socially transitioned throughout 5th grade, they announced to any and everyone, “I’m ready for the whole world to see me as a girl!” They asked that we begin referring to them as our “daughter.” But after only a few days, they took me aside and said, “No…just no. This doesn’t feel right. ‘Daughter’ just isn’t right.”

Soon after, they discovered “they/them” pronouns (on a pronoun pin, no less) at our local LGBT Center, and it was the biggest light bulb moment I’ve ever seen anyone have in my life. That was it. A moment of clarity. And for the past 4 years we’ve been using they/them pronouns.

Our society is largely unprepared to deal with this. And with a 10-year-old amab child who presents female but uses they/them pronouns, people really struggled to understand. Any confusion our child felt seemed to be more a reaction to others’ not getting it than over their own sense of identity. Because it feels completely natural to them. But others sort of make it weird, you know?

While they were starting to socially transition to present female, but still being called “he/him” by school peers, others (needing to box everything in to the binary in order to understand it) invariably would ask our child, “do you feel more like a boy or a girl?” And our child would always answer, “I feel more like just a person.”

They became quickly exhausted with answering this question all the time. Of having to constantly justify their mere existence to peers & strangers alike — anybody, really, who couldn’t make sense of the juxtaposed figure standing before them.

Though our child has never stopped expressing/passing as female — and are okay with others presuming they’re female — they have not wavered in being trans non-binary. And when forced to make a gender choice, they always default to female (like for bathrooms and other gendered spaces). Mainly because it doesn’t bring a level of dysphoria like male does. But still, they’re non-binary. At least, until that maybe changes one day. ;-) And that’s perfectly okay.

Written by

Seen in HuffPost, Scary Mommy, etc; heard @ NPR, SiriusXM, TIFO podcast & more. Gender dismantling trailblazer. Political news junkie. TikTok aficionado. Mom.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store