The prominent portrayals of what counts as the trans experience are transgender individuals who’ve always accepted that they were trans and who fit the gender binary and societal norms of their true gender. This rhetoric of what counts as trans/non-binary is alienating. Those of us whose experiences don’t match this rhetoric are left out. There shouldn’t be a quota that has to be met to be included in the community, to have your voice heard. It’s lonely knowing you aren’t cisgender but not feeling trans enough.
Every single word of this part I highlighted. EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. As the parent of a trans non-binary teen who was amab but has expressed feminine since age 2.5, but doesn’t feel 100% female — but most definitely doesn’t identify as male at all, and uses they/them/their(s) pronouns — I say with confidence that there is indeed a place for you at the table. You’re perhaps just at a point where you haven’t had the opportunity to find your “tribe” yet. But I promise they’re out there. I feel I can say this with confidence because in 2016, I sought to start up a group at my local LGBT Center for gender non-conforming youth ages 12 and under. For my own kiddo who felt isolated, alone, different, ostracized, like they didn’t fit in anywhere. Too “feminine” to play with the boys, and not “feminine” enough to play with the girls at recess.
My husband and I started that group in our small city shortly after our ex-governor, Republican Pat McCrory signed the most anti-LGBTQ law in our state’s history: HB2 (a.k.a., “The bathroom bill”). The bill (and law) that sparked a nationwide discussion from all kinds of cis people regarding the rights of trans people to use public bathrooms/locker rooms/changing facilities in public places that corresponded with their gender identity. To say we formed our group during a toxic and frightening time in an understatement, but it ended up being a huge blessing in disguise.
Though the group expanded and began seeing more and more binary trans youth coming in, we still had no shortage of non-binary trans people (both youth and adults) who’d come to meetings! We ended up being a dual-purpose group that served as a playgroup for TGNC kids, and discussion group for parents. I was mind-blown over how many families there were — just in my own little city — who were raising kids just like mine.
It’s now 4 years later, and I recently departed from running that program since my child had aged out, but it’s still a mainstay of that LGBT Center, and over the 4 years, hundreds of individuals who are exactly like you have come through those doors. Have hope and feel the solidarity, even from afar!