U is for Understanding

This can come in many forms, from the outside and in. Having a gender identity that does not align with the sex assigned at birth can be a very challenging thing to understand, even from within. Today I plan to talk about why that is and some ways I came to understand my own gender.

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Firstly, gender and sexuality are different things. This is vital to remember for what I am about to say. However, it is possible to work them out at similar times and honestly quite common.

I only started to question my gender when I began to question my sexuality. I’d been sitting in class and I had a strong urge to kiss one of the girls. I knew I was attracted to guys but this confused the hell out of me. I didn’t feel like I was bisexual, I couldn’t see myself being someone’s girlfriend, so I began to research.

I quickly found the term pansexual and something clicked. You didn’t have to identify as male or female, you could be something else. I was thrown and ended up looking into different gender identities, pronouns, the works. I was drawn initially to the label of genderqueer, it seemed to describe how I felt my gender was at the time. Things began to make sense.

I used that label to identify myself for around a year, but realised just how hard it was for people to accept such a term. Instead I decided to come out as a trans man. I knew I wanted to look closer to male and I felt more comfortable on that end of the scale so I assumed that’s what I was. I went by male pronouns for around two years and I found myself understanding a lot but not everything I needed to about my gender.

It was only in the last year or so that I properly accepted my non-binary identity. I met other non-binary people and realised you didn’t have to be one side or the other, that was okay. I could present more masculine but still identify differently. Since then I have found myself a lot happier in my body and presentation. Post top surgery I understood in myself that I could dress in drag, I could go out with make-up on, I could have more femme days and more masc days. That was totally fine. I could show myself in any way I felt comfortable.

Of course while this was great for myself, society tends to have different views.

For the most part, I found understanding myself ridiculously hard. I then take that from the outside and realised that if I found it complex, how would someone with no concept of gender find it? Probably just as confusing, if not moreso.

Gender is not an easy topic to get your head around and honestly I think most people – myself included – are still learning. I don’t know as anyone can say they fully understand it. But I think that is important to remember. It is okay not to understand it all, it’s okay to do research, to ask questions to people who are happy to give answers (don’t assume everyone will be), it’s okay to be unsure.

I hope this post has found people well, I know it is very late but my week has been ridiculously busy. I will be posting all of my late posts in the next few days and I hope you will bare with me. In the mean time, go check out some more A-Z Challenge posters!

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