Coming out as Non-Binary
I have something that I'd like to write down here explicitly.
If you follow me much, you'll have seen me experimenting recently with the way I dress, the way I present myself more generally and the way I conduct myself with others. Originally, I set out on that road because I felt that, as a cis man who felt a bit constrained by the choices allowed me by society, I had a duty to push some boundaries.
Somewhere along the way another question took root, separate from concerns about appearances, but I think pretty inevitable as a side effect of questioning so much I'd held to be the norm for so long. Is a cis man really what I feel like? I find myself feeling an urge to reject identification as a man. Specifically, to reject many of the expectations put on me by my assigned gender. I'll get straight to it: I feel like the answer to my question is no.
So, this is me coming out as non-binary.
I'm not know-it-in-your-bones, deep in my heart certain that this is right for me. That's OK though. I'm trying it on. I'm experimenting. Committing to this will, I think, help me to let go of some of my own internalised misconceptions about what I should and shouldn't be. Throwing a picture of myself in a stripey dress into the Twitter feeds of most of my professional network showed me that apparently I'm all about these big statements that help me to position myself mentally and emotionally closer to where I want to be. This is just another one of those.
What this means in practice is that I don't strongly identify with either of the two binary genders. Sometimes I feel more or less distant from wanting to call myself a man. I seem to have no idea when those times will come. This will sometimes translate into an outward appearance that's more or less close to traditionally masculine or feminine. But not always: gender isn't clothing. Expect a mix. Expect both at once, sometimes a deliberate lack of either.
I'm not too concerned with people using different pronouns for me right now. Where there's a chance to specify them, I'll likely go for they / them. Or maybe a play like they / him that speaks to where I currently feel like I sit as an AMAB non-binary person who doesn't make any strong efforts at full androgeny. I don't know. This is new to me: please be patient.
It wouldn't be a stretch to say that part of this is about distancing myself from the worst parts of masculinity. I'm certainly not aiming to escape or absolve myself of the role I've occupied and the privileges I've advantaged from as a man in this patriarchy, and which I will often continue to as a male-presenting person. Quite the opposite: this partly represents a fresh commitment to challenging the toxicity and privilege that's woven through every part of men's place in society.
I won't be asking you, if you know me, to change your behaviour in any specific way. Just to continue to be supportive of my choices and to let me do my thing. I'll do the same for you. If you have any questions at all, or feel unclear about why I might be identifying this way, I'd love to talk to you. Catch me for a chat in whatever way is relevant.
To my loved ones and to kind Internet strangers alike: thank you for helping me to this point. I'm happier in myself than I can remember being. It's a huge privilege even to have been able to bring myself to this point with some sense of confidence and safety. Your support has enabled that.
It'll be a journey, still. I don't expect it to be easy, but I'm hopeful. Scared too. But mostly hopeful.