(scroll to read the ridiculous raves & rants of a non-binary psycho)
Over the past couple years, some common questions I've been asked are...
-Are you transitioning? (Am I transexual)
-Are you transgender?
-What is non-binary?
-Is it gay to be attracted to you?
-How are babies made? (kidding)
There is no short answer or easy explanation to how I would identify myself into society's gender rules or terminologies. Before I digress about my own perceptions and expressions of my gender, I want to make sure we all know the differences between sex, gender, and sexuality. I'm sorry for being extra, but being familiar with these concepts is a prerequisite to discussing gender identity.
Sex: Describes the physical body parts you are born with. There are undisputable differences between the physiological makeup of men and women (reproductive organs, hormones, chromosomes, etc.). Individuals born with both sex organs are called intersexed.
Gender: These are the socially constructed attributes we assign to the sexes. Our perceptions of what makes a person male or female are formed psychologically when we identify commonalities and differences between males and females around us.
Think about this!! Some examples of female gender attributes are long hair, wearing dresses/skirts, or wearing makeup. But does wearing a skirt or makeup serve any fundamental function for life such as breathing, eating or communicating? Skirts are not worn so the babies can pop out easier. There is no practical utility or reason for skirts to be specific to females, other than because humans have traditionally said so.
That being said, there are cognitive associations created in the human mind about gender. That skirt for instance, is inherently tied with a persons experiences of who was wearing it. These associations of gender can theoretically impact a person both mentally and physically similarly to Pavlovian Conditioning.
Sexuality: This is when it gets really slippery...
Heterosexuality is defined as when a person is attracted to the opposite gender and/or sex. Homosexuality is defined as when a person is attracted to the same gender and/or sex. Modern views on sexuality are trending towards sexual orientation being defined by the gender a person is attracted to (not the sex), which supports the idea that a straight-identifying man can be attracted to a pre-op transwoman without society labeling him as homosexual.
Here is an entire book on the differences between sex, gender, and sexuality in case you want to read into it more - "Gender, Sex, and Sexuality: Contemporary Psychological Perspectives"
This article dives deep into sexuality and gender- "Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: 'Gender Normals,' Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality"
I personally identify as a non-binary gender-fluid transgender person.
I do not fit perfectly into the archetypes or labels for gender.
I am gender non-conforming, and can express masculinity or femininity separately.
I started hormone replacement therapy for a very short period of time
I am not transitioning to become the opposite sex. Therefore, I am not transexual.
I am transgender in the sense that I do not identify as the gender I was assigned at birth.
My pronouns are "They/Them" but I am comfortable with "He/him" or "She/her" when appropriate
NO, I do not have to "pick one"
If you are a person struggling with your gender identity or considering transitioning, find trans people to speak with about it! Therapists are great, but they usually won't be able to speak from experience in these matters. I am lucky enough to have several non-binary and trans people in my life who I could relate to, and it helped me