I can remember the day that it clicked for me that I was non-binary. I was doing a video chat with my mother in order to show her my pixie cut. Admittedly the stylist didn’t do the best job, and it looked less like a feminine cut and more like a masculine cut. I wasn’t upset, though, and was showing it off to my mother. She sighed and said, ‘Como te gusta’, which translates to ‘how you enjoy doing (x)’, and in this case, she was talking about my lifelong enjoyment of presenting more masculine.
It literally clicked for me, and I don’t think my mom recognized how impactful that sentence was for me. I laughed off her comment and ended the phone call shortly after that. I sat with myself for a few moments and recognized that, yes, I do like this. I do like to present as masculine but still be feminine. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always thought of getting dressed up as playing a role. Going to a wedding? I’ll pretend to be a more feminine version of myself and get dressed up, put on makeup, and wear heels. But at my core, I’m so much more comfortable with jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes.
I know that some of the arguments I’ll receive are that I can simply identify as a female who likes jeans and t-shirts. Yes, that’s true, but I know that this doesn’t truly represent me. I grew up as the child who enjoyed playing the dad when we played house. I felt that role, the role of the protector and the one who needed to be strong.
I spent many years as a teenager wearing my dad’s work boots and leather jacket because I enjoyed how masculine I looked in them. Before I required a bra, I would walk around the house shirtless because that’s how I saw my dad, and I wanted to be more like him. Also, it’s freaking comfortable! I’ll still walk around shirtless in my home (with a bra) because it feels more like me than anything else.
All these thoughts raced through my brain, and I recognized that I needed to tell the one person who I needed to understand me more than anyone else, my husband.
I didn’t do the best job preparing for my moment to tell him I identified as non-binary. We went to visit my in-laws for New Year’s, and as we lay on separate queen beds, a white noise machine on, and both our daughters asleep next to us, I loudly whispered to him, “Hey, so I think I’m non-binary.”
It didn’t register right away as we had both been looking through Tik Tok and I hadn’t even gotten his attention beforehand. He and I chatted for a while, and his stance was, “I’ll love you no matter how you identify, but I also want to make sure you get help, so let’s find someone for you to talk to. Also, I want you to keep being the girl’s mom. That’s what they call you.”
I was so grateful for his reaction. I was worried that he wouldn’t understand or be upset at the fact that after 12 years, his wife is suddenly not sure that she’s a cis female. As for his comment about what my daughters would call me, I never wanted that to change. I’m sure there are others who might decide to go by a different term, but I’ve always been mommy and always wanted to be mommy so for me, that’ll never change.
So I’m on to the next steps. I’ve spoken with my primary physician and informed him of my gender identity questions, and he gave me an amazing list he’s curated of LGBTQIA+ counselors and therapists for me to speak to. He made me feel so seen and welcomed into this community and has given me hope that this will all go well.
I’ve also spoken to two individuals who I know wouldn’t judge or hold anything against me for letting them know that I believe I’m non-binary. The first, right away, asked if there are any pronouns she should be aware of for me. The second told me they were so honored to be informed and told me they loved me for wanting to be truer to myself.
I’m grateful for these positive experiences. I know that as I work towards telling the rest of my family and friends, things have the possibility of getting awkward. People might get upset because they just don’t understand, and I’m readying myself for those experiences.
I always told myself that I wanted to raise my children to be loving and accepting, and that has to start with me. I have to learn to love and accept myself.