A Fantasy Author's Adventures in Fiction & Life

Tag: LGBTQIA+

For me Pride is complex. Raised in a cis, binary, heterosexual world that gave me zero role models and was oblivious to my existence means that like many, I didn’t realise my identities were queer until later in life. After three years, I still haven’t referred to queer history as ‘our history’ or the LGBTQIA+ community as ‘our community’. That seems presumptuous. And I hit these difficulties before considering what often looks to me like performative corporate allyship, companies mass producing queer products to capitalise on profits and people all saying ‘happy pride,’ while Florida’s government policies actively reshape it into a queer hellscape.

Pride Right Now

Two large rainbows arch over grassy Arthur's seat, before sunlit Edinburgh and a grey, cloudy sky in Scottland.

Pride At Work

I haven’t mentioned that its Pride Month at work. Work has been insanely busy, we’re all sick and there’s hardly a moment or the headspace to comment on something that isn’t work. I’m also the only openly queer person in my workspace and while my colleagues are kind, well meaning people, there’s a lot of ignorance. I’m not sure how much interest there is for things queer or how to proceed when I’m the only person flying the rainbow flag before all my cishet colleagues.

Pride Online

So I’m mostly seeing Pride online, packed with corporate performative allyship posts, and ‘love is love’ and ‘lets work together to make things better.’ And the cynical part of me wonders if that post is the only thing that organisation will do during Pride month (or ever), to support queer people. I’m sure some groups do more, but it almost feels like being accepting of queer people is politically correct, and socially and morally obliged, and mass displays of it at this one time of year can feel insincere.

On the flip side, so many organisations publicly displaying their acceptance of queer people does, as many recent tweets have pointed out, show the haters that hating on queer people isn’t the norm. That such hatred is unwelcome in many spaces. And while that causes initial inevitable backlash (which I’m fortunate enough to have only seen online, not irl), I share the optimism that it will ultimately help normalise being queer (especially being trans!).

Indie Author Pride Online

I was grateful when Indie Book Spotlight started #IndiePride2 and I had a means of connecting with fellow queer authors. One of the prompt questions was: what does Pride mean to you? To some on the hashtag, its a celebration of how far queer people and our status in society has come. From being gay being illegal and legally defined as a mental illness, to gay marriage being legalised in many countries, for example. But also a time to protest, and to look at what still needs to be achieved. I’d define that partly as every homophobic argument made against gay men in the 80’s/ 90’s now being argued against trans people, and the legislative assault trans people are coming under, in Florida and California in particular.

Reaching Pride, Space to Be Queer

But before discussing the present and future, I’d like to look back to how I personally and many others came to the realisation we are queer, and Pride is for us. Because things don’t just happen in a vacuum, and many of us were unable to recognise our identities for a long time, because to us our world was a vacuume.

Queerness in The 90’s

I had no idea I was queer as a child. I played with girls. I played with boys. I played with girls and boys toys. I liked pretty clothes and pragmatic clothes. And like many 90’s kids, I knew you could be gay or straight. And that was about it. It didn’t stop me from punching bullies back. ‘Girls didn’t do that’, and I ‘was a girl’ in everyone else’s eyes. But I saw the world as I saw it, I thought what I thought, felt what I felt, believed what I believed and would not tolerate shit I would not tolerate. I demanded male respect while presenting as female in a sexist era. I suppose in some ways I was ‘one of the boys’ and in others ‘one of the girls’ and nowhere did I truly fit.

Queerness in The 2000’s

‘Transexual’ was mentioned a little more then. The notion of a ‘man in a woman’s body’ and you could ‘get a sex change’. It was such early days for gender diversity. There were still such rigid expectations for women. Slut shaming was still at full throttle. But the ‘metrosexual’ was coined. Men were starting to break free of recent limitations in male gender expression, some growing their hair out, experimenting with make up, etc. And that helped me, because I realised those men were more feminine than I, and I more masculine than them. There was a little more space for me to recognise my own gender diversity.

Of course, there was still nothing like a single role model of anyone I wanted to be when I grew up. Because the gender binary was still an absolute power. But Blink 182 were rocking the charts alongside ‘metrosexual’ male artists and there seemed a little more room for queer existence than before. I even heard the terms ‘bisexual’ and ‘lesbian’. By my late teens, people were starting to say that using ‘gay’ as an insult was disrespectful to gay men and were beginning to discourage others from doing so.

It felt like millennials were starting to make and or create space to be alternative. To break away from the mainstream. Including to be queer. But so many queer labels and identities were so little, or not even understood, that for many of us, this was a time where we struggled to be what we could not see.

You Can’t Be What You Can’t See

Let me put not having labels or definitions for who I was into context. When I was 10 years old (in the 90s), I went to a family event and a male relative was there with a friend of his. My dad quietly told me, “That’s his boyfriend.” By the early 2000’s, another family member had joined the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian choir, and attending that choir’s Christmas Carols for several years became a family tradition.

I had the privilege of being raised in a family where queer family members who recognised themselves as such were welcomed, and where Pride was totally accepted. It was a very safe environment for me to ‘come out.’ But it wasn’t enough. ‘Gay’ meant loving the opposite or opposite and same sex back then. It didn’t mean not romantically loving anyone. It didn’t mean not experiencing sexual attraction. ‘Everyone’ in fiction, on tv, in books, in the movies, in real life ‘wanted’ a girlfriend/ boyfriend, and ‘wanted’ to have sex with them, sometimes on the first meeting, which I always found absurd. And ‘everyone’ everywhere ‘was a man or a woman.’

So What Am I?

Its very challenging to be proud of who you are, when you don’t even have names for the things you are. (Trust me, I’ve spent over 30 years trying to do just that ?). I respected gays, lesbians and bisexuals. I liked how they just did their thing, despite peer pressure, despite prejudice. That they went out every day defying what most people expected them to be, and were just themselves. I tried to do the same, on my own, with no role modelling what so ever, because I didn’t have labels or a clear definition of who I was, nor any examples about how to express myself as a person.

Pride as Living Space

So how can anyone be queer when you’re queer in a way that’s ‘not a thing’? Let alone how do you be proud about it? If I felt masculine, I did masculine. If I liked a guy but didn’t actually want to ask him out, or even date him, I didn’t ask him out and tried not to encourage him too much. I slowly clawed my way towards a wardrobe balancing feminine and gender neutral attire. I wrote books from female and male perspectives, alternating between them as much as I wanted.

But I didn’t gain clarity about who I was, or how to more happily be me, until I started seeing others trying to do the same. I shrugged off the many people suggesting I try online dating because ‘surely I must want a romantic and sexual partner because isn’t that what every human wants’? I moved house, country etc (surrendering to the ADHD desire for novelty and challenges, long before recognising I had ADHD ‘only boys had ADHD in the 90s’ ?). That was a convenient excuse for never bothering to date, because I never lived anywhere long. But neither I nor anyone else had terms for what I was, so they kept expecting me to want what I didn’t want.

Pride as You Can Be Who You Can See

I know many people are wary of politics on Twitter, or fear it as a hellscape, even before current management took over. But Twitter was where I found Pride. No, not the month. Pride as in people who put things in their bios like ‘asexual’ or even… they/them pronouns. I started meeting and interacting with people who were queer beyond being same or same and opposite sex attracted. I learnt from them and we learnt from each other that there are so many other queer identities. That humanity has far more ways of being than the exceptionally limited cookie cutters society had been jamming us all into since childhood, despite plenty of us never fitting.

As I said in my blog Identifying as Nonbinary, identifying my pronouns and telling them to other people was an outward way to give myself permission to be my nonbinary self. To wear feminine, masculine or gender neutral clothing. To relate to other people as just a person, even and especially when they want to relate to each other and everyone else as ‘woman’ or ‘man.’

Many in my queer generation (and earlier generations) have had to overcome the disconnect between blundering through the dark to define and express ourselves and society inventing names for us 20, 30 even 40 years later. You have this vague sense of who you are and how to be you, and then these external, ‘foreign’ labels and gender identities pop up, and it can take years for you to realise you are that thing and it is a part of you.

Pride to Save Time

Let’s fast forward to the present. Now its not just Gay & Lesbian, its LGBTQIA+. Not only can you be bisexual, you can be pansexual. You can be aromantic, or asexual or demisexual. Its trans people now, trans men and women, a gender appropriately named as a gender and not lumped in with the word ‘sexual’ even though it isn’t a sexuality. And you can be nonbinary, and gender queer and agender and SO MANY things. And with names, and definitions and books like Heart Stopper and shows like Umbrella Academy, people can see their gender and sexuality in fiction. With safe online spaces and pronouns and sexualities in bios, people can see diversity in online life.

Its no longer necessary to blunder through the dark. There are names to go with identities, and fictional and real life people to look to as examples. Its easier than ever to find your queer people, to not be alone. To have people to share experiences and challenges with. To ask questions of. To find your way on your journey of being and expressing your authentic self with.

And then there’s the bigots.

Get Back in the Closest

Yes, that’s exactly what a religious nut job recently told me, right after accusing me personally of turning western civilisation into a circus for daring to encourage, via public tweet, people to live as their queer selves. Its easy to laugh off extremists like that. And people running around saying, “the Bible says its a sin, don’t be proud to be queer” when the supposed lord and saviour of these supposed Christians said stuff like “let he who is without sin throw the first stone” and something about attending to the plank in one’s own eye before attending to the speck in one’s neighbour’s. And who, despite popular opinion in some circles that he said “hate thy neighbour” actually said “love thy neighbour as thyself.”

But Pride Month had barely began before the book What is a Woman, so packed full of attacks on trans people’s existence that I soon forgot it supposedly related to women, was released. And people are tweeting about ‘Family Pride Month,’ you know, ‘family’ as defined by bigots, in opposition to all things queer. Then there’s the ‘when do we get straight pride month?’ crowd, who are so used to everything always being about them that a whole month dedicated to someone else is apparently more than they can cope with.

A lot of the above may just be noise. But the 369 anti-trans bills currently active in the United States are not. These bills include things like denying teachers and students the right to be addressed by pronouns not matching their biological sex on their birth certificate (which would misgender me). They include limiting gender affirming care (care which spares people being trapped in a body that every time you see its reflection isn’t you, because it doesn’t match your gender, aka dysmorphia).

I’ve been very lucky with dysmorphia. My body is a mix of classic masculine and feminine traits. Only seeing myself on film do I see someone whose face or expressions aren’t right, or their voice sounds wrong. Its like watching a mockery of myself, when it is actual footage of me. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. To wish, let alone force dysmorphia on people is to wish them mental illness and self harm. And that’s exactly what Desantis seems to be praying to God for trans people to have.

The Future

So much has been gained in recent decades. Pride Month seems to get bigger each year. And yes, it is nice to say ‘happy Pride!’ and to celebrate all the queer community is and has achieved. And queer joy can be a rare thing, so much so that I don’t feel I can enter my queer ownvoices book in an author contest specifically for queer authors, because the contest is for books about “the struggle to be queer in the modern world”. So yes, there’s room to celebrate, for queer joy and plenty to be PROUD of.

But its the fight that sticks with me in 2023. This map of countries where its illegal to be queer won’t surprise experienced travellers like myself. But even to a casual observer, people referring to all LGBTQIA+ people as groomers (see Twitter) and claiming all of us are pedeophiles (see #NotADragQueen for convicted, actual child sex offenders) looks to me like people getting their ducks in a row before they shoot them. What is a Woman was described in this partly theatrical, but also thoroughly researched documentary as a rallying cry to incite hatred of and violence towards trans people. Having watched her full analysis of the book, I agree with Jessie Earl’s interpretation of it.

Yet so many bigoted morons on Twitter are tweeting ‘what rights are trans people being denied?’ Meanwhile a certain rich white woman would like everyone to believe cis women are victimised by the existence of trans women. And so many misogynists are happy to ‘defend’ TERFs against the existence of trans women (including literal, self identified fascists in my own city).

Pride to me?

In his monologue in June 2022, First Australian Mene Wyatt said “silence is violence.” A blog about Melbourne’s fascists expressed the view that most people, whom it called ‘normies’ truly oppose the ‘evil transes’. If fascists like that don’t hear people articulating that we actually don’t think trans people should be eradicated (yes, the Melbourne fascist banner called for exactly that), than Mene Wyatt is right. We’ll have haters committing violence in the name of ‘normal people’/ the bulk of the human population against LGBTQIA+ people —trans people first.

So to me, Pride is my chance to say: don’t let fascists presume they speak for you. Tell people where you stand. So no one can falsely claim to speak for you. Don’t be silent and let others believe they are committing violence in your name. (Fellow Aussies, we can use our voices to VOTE YES in the Voice Referendum, while we’re on the subject ?). Yes, things have come far for us queer folks and that’s great. But I want to see everything we’ve gained and so many have worked so hard for weather the current storm, futuresurvive and thrive.

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Related Reading

Identifying as Nonbinary -my experience

Jessie Earl’s Debunking of What is A Woman, an excellent resource (long youtube video) for understanding conservative transphobia in the US.

I Think I’m Neurodiverse; ADHD? -Something I’m also proud about 🙂

LGBTQIA+ Life: Identifying as Nonbinary

Recognising your nonbinary gender in a binary, cis gender world is no picnic. You can’t name something the English language fails to hav relevant nouns and pronouns for, or that society fails to educate you about the existence of. So you blunder along, wondering why you don’t fit the man/ woman cookie cutters the world you are born and raised in tries to jam you into for the first thirty years of your life. It took me a few decades, but I figured things out in the end. This blog records my journey.

As a Kid, Gender didn’t matter as much

I’m a nineties kid, born and raised in Australia. Back then, their were boys and girls -that was it. In lower primary, I had two friendship groups. Girls with whom I played imaginary games. And tough boys, who, like me, were inclined to hit back when punched by random bullies in the yard. I got to wear pretty clothes and play with girly toys when I wanted. Alternately, I got to wear baggy t-shirts and shorts when I felt like it. And when I wanted to play with boys toys, my brothers were at my disposal. It was in later primary (around puberty) that I started to feel adrift.

I Don’t Quite Fit

Even before then, as young as eight, female friends had seemed closer to me than I was to them. And I didn’t quite like who I was around them. Something was off about me. Then, I changed schools and made new friends, but they were all girls. I didn’t feel like I connected to them as well as I had connected to boys. But boys saw me differently now. I was a ‘girl’ and someone they did or didn’t have a crush on. And that was it. And it was very disappointing. I had crushes as a teen, but as an asexual, friendship is infinitely more important to me than romantic relationships. I liked a boy at the time, but I didn’t actually want a boyfriend.

Early Teens

In hindsight, something that fuelled what was probably clinical levels of depression in my early teenage years (when I had a lot of non-gender related baggage to sort out), was my isolation. On one hand I was vastly more emotionally mature than most kids my age. On the other, I didn’t relate to a single kid at school when it came to gender identity.

Friendship groups were very much boys or girls in early high school. Boyfriends and dating were a thing. I had no prospect of male friendship. I related to girls even less than I had at primary school. And while I’m asexual, I could find certain boys aesthetically pleasing, or like their personality, but I always felt like they were more into me than I was into them. In hindsight, that’s because I’m also inclined towards a-romantic. So my gender neutral side was not destined to find a partner it related to, as I’ve never really wanted a romantic partner (beyond intellectual curiosity.)

Struggling to Relate

Late high school was bittersweet for me. I made some great friends, but the divide between single me and friends with boyfriends began. I knew some lovely girls in high school. But it wasn’t just the ones who had or sought boyfriends that I drifted away from. It was the more girly ones. They were lovely people, but I didn’t relate to them. They were too feminine. I did have some male friends around this time. There were a few boys who could see me not as a potential girlfriend or a ‘female’, just as a friend. I treasured them.

Boys brought out my gender neutral side. Girls generally brought out my feminine side. But when I’ve been surrounded by girls or women, with no break, I’ve felt kind of smothered. Its like those times use up all my femininity, and my gender neutrality was kind of shut in a room by itself. That was what felt off about having only female friends. That was why I couldn’t connect to girls and I haven’t been able to connect or relate to women the same way they usually connect and relate to me. Because I’m not a woman. The feminine is only half of who I am. When people only respond to my feminine side, displaying awareness of only its existence, it can feel like they only see me on the surface. Like they don’t truly know who I am.

In my Twenties, Nonbinary Clues

At Uni, there was more opportunity for female and male companionship. But I didn’t meet anyone who recognised me, or I them, as nonbinary. So who did I relate to more than 50% of the time? I often (pre-covid) travel by myself, and strike up conversations with retail assistants, people in hospitality and fellow tourists. Since joining Twitter, I’ve been very active in its WritingCommunity and created not one, but three writer Discord Servers. I’m a people loving person, whose always sensed an invisible barrier between myself and most people.

For my entire life, everyone I meet has assumed I am female. Girls and women have welcomed me as such. I have the lived experience of ‘girlhood’ and ‘womanhood’ so yes, I can relate to much of what women say. But in a conversation with multiple women, there always comes that point where the women are connecting more and more, and I’m feeling increasingly emotionally distant from them. I’m like a guest in their world. A welcome guest. On the surface, I fit in very well. But I don’t belong there.

That’s why male friendship and colleagues have always been so important to me. When men see me not as a ‘female’, nor as a potential date, just a person they can chat to and hang out with, my gender neutral side naturally engages with them. The other half of me gets to live. Its like oxygen after a bad head cold. Like pulling off too tight clothing that hinders your movements.

Selfie headshot of Elise wearing a long sleeve, blue patterned shirt and black frame topped glasses, and a blue-eyed, pink cheeked smile, Thin, pale trunked, sun dappled gum trees rising behind.
In the Aussie mountains, Victoria, 2023.

Gender Fluid Clues

And this is probably a good point for me to define the problem with ‘woman’ as an identity for me. Yes, I can relate to much of it. I can relate to the feminine as a feminine person. But at the end of the day, its a garment that’s too tight. It doesn’t allow me to be all I am. It masks my gender neutrality and my masculine side with make up and pretty clothes and all the cis female expectations society attaches to those.

When I told my mum I’m nonbinary, she tried to relate by saying how she enjoyed dressing up as a man at a dress up party once. When I wear a pretty dress and make up to dinner (very rarely), that’s almost the same to me as going to dinner dressed as a man. Why? Because it isn’t who I am. Yes, I do sometimes wear dresses. But I’ve donated the prettiest to charity. I like them, but I’d rather pin them to my wall and admire them. Or admire them on women. I don’t actually feel like wearing them much, because they’re not me.

I talk about ‘women’ -not me. I talk about ‘men’ -also not me. If you’ve noticed this, it shouldn’t surprise you that in my twenties I defined myself simply as, ‘I am not most people. I do not do what most people do. I cannot relate to either binary gender the way they relate to themselves, or each other.’

I know Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up!

Other kids looked to pop stars etc, and said, ‘I want to be like that when I grow up!’ I never felt that way. I saw only little bits of me in any one person, perhaps in part because they were all binary men and women. But in my early twenties, I saw much of myself in a fictional character. A sociable, people loving person. A traveler, passing through, helping out where they can: Dr Who. No, not Jodie Whitaker. David Tenant’s portrayal. And Matt Smith’s. I find Dr Who in the new seasons quite androgynous. Unbound by gender in character, behaviour, thinking and feeling. And that removes what would otherwise have been a barrier to other Dr Who traits I relate to.

Gender Fluid –Wardrobe Development

When I started teaching in 2011, I was drawn to women’s professional clothing. Its more stylish, interesting, arty or attractive. And I like elegance. So in summer, when I noticed very few smart shorts for women, I found myself in dresses five days a week. By Friday, I felt like the wind had gone out of my sails. I wasn’t quite myself. I also noticed that when I skipped my usual evening run, I felt sad. In hindsight, it wasn’t exercise I missed most. It was doing what has traditionally been a masculine activity, in gender neutral clothes, which gave my gender neutral side room to breathe.

From then onwards, I made a point of wearing gender neutral casual clothes at home, and for exercise. I reserved feminine clothing as much as practical for work. Dressing half the time in a feminine way and half the time gender neutral worked for me. That’s a nice clear point to establish that I’m not only nonbinary, I’m gender fluid. My mood, my responses, which other gender I relate to best changes not just every day, but can change throughout the day as well.

In recent years, I’ve removed the prettiest clothing in my wardrobe. I’m happiest in clothing I can be comfortable in whether I’m in a feminine or a more gender neutral mood, as that’s likely to change after I get dressed for the day. And while I can be happy in androgynous clothing for five days in a row, I’ll often wear dresses for a couple of days after that. Its all about balancing gender neutral and feminine for me.

Still Not Relating

A teacher in my twenties, its after 2011 and I still haven’t claimed ‘gender fluid’ or ‘nonbinary’ as my identity. One of many schools I’ve worked at liked Friday night drinks. It was usually a few women and a few men. Every time, we’d start off sitting and talking together. Then came that inevitable point when the women gravitated towards and chatted with one another and the men did the same. I always, usually quite literally, found myself sitting in the middle, drawn to neither. I’d sit looking from one to the other, and have to choose which to make an effort to join in with. Sometimes I’d just listen and sip my drink for twenty minutes, before saying a word. That’s unlike me. Here was more proof that I simply did not relate, connect or gravitate to a binary gender the way either gravitates towards itself.

Appropriate Labels

So when did I FINALLY find the words to name the identity I’d pretty much figured out by now? It was after Miley Cyrus identified as ‘girl’ and ‘boy.’ After a celebrity or two announced that they would like to be referred to by the personal pronoun ‘they’. In a society seeing and expecting nothing but binary male or female, words were finally finding me.

That wasn’t the end. By now, I was in my thirties. Still teaching. I’d had a lifetime of not relating to either binary gender the way they related to each other. A lifetime of being a stranger, just passing through, who meets, likes and helps people, then moves on, without fully connecting. I defined myself now as simply ‘other’. As ‘labels, boxes, societal conventions, blah, blah, blah don’t apply to me’.

In my teens, I was often labelled an ‘airhead’ because being a pretty, female-presenting, thin person was perceived as scientific proof of lack of brain cells (or so thought many a moron). I’d been labelled a ‘slut’ in my teens at times too (oh yes, despite zero dating, kissing or even hand holding and oh yeah, being asexual!) I was used to not being seen, being mislabelled (and in my teenage years, to thinking most people were idiots because they consistently failed to notice SO MANY things that were bloody obvious to me).

Gender Identity Became A Thing

Now, I was 33 and had joined Twitter’s WritingCommunity. By this time, ‘sex’ was no longer a synonymn for ‘gender’. People didn’t speak of ‘gender reassignment surgery’, like they had in the nineties. Now, I’d come more often across the word ‘trans’. I was introduced to the idea that gender identity, who a person is in their mind, their heart, their soul can differ from biological sex. I started hearing that trans men are men, and trans women are women. For the first time in my life, a fact that was self evident to me was finally visible to other people: that biological sex does not determine a person’s gender.

Twitter was the first time in my life that I was given the choice of stating my personal pronouns. Not having them dictated to me by a cis, binary gender society. Of actually telling people who I was, myself. But what the fuck words did I use?

Label & Personal Pronoun Aversion

Then there was the other problem. I’d privately concluded that when it comes to my gender, people have no fucking clue what I am. There was no point trying to tell them something they knew nothing about, using words that didn’t exist. I’d forgiven them for their ignorance and was moving on with my life.

Now the words did exist. But for thirty three years I’d never applied them to me. Since the age of fifteen, I’d had an aversion to boxes, labels or categories of any sort. After all that time resisting boxes, did I now elect to put myself into one? And having called myself simply ‘nonconformist’ in my teens, ‘other’ in my twenties and simply ‘me’ by my thirties, did I now want to give my gender a name that was foreign to me? I’d heard that ‘they’ singular was becoming a thing, but it too had had nothing to do with me for my entire life.

I totally accepted the idea of putting personal pronouns in Twitter bios. It challenged the assumption that biological sex is the sole determinant of gender. It encouraged cis people looking at a profile pic, going ‘biological male = man’, to stop, and recognise that actually, she is a trans woman. I also liked the idea of normalising personal pronouns in bios, so the onus of identifying gender isn’t just on trans people, its on everyone. Why am I not mentioning nonbinary folks here? Because the conversation I saw at that time didn’t yet include nonbinary people.

Overcoming my Label Aversion

My problem? Other people called me she/ her/ woman all my life. They were the only personal pronouns. Suddenly I had the choice to use ‘they’. I didn’t, at first. I used she/her to signal my Twitter feed was a trans friendly space. But it felt wrong. So I pulled back to ‘she’. On its own, ‘she’ wasn’t enough. ‘They’ was still alien, so for a year, I went to no pronouns. (If you’re in this boat, ‘all pronouns welcome’ or ‘pronouns any’ is a good way to indicate your account is trans friendly. I only heard of it later).

By now, its was 2020. Months of lockdown awaited me, as did unemployment when I spent lockdown in Australia and couldn’t return to teaching in New Zealand. I had time to think. To reflect. And FINALLY, I met and interacted with nobinary people on Twitter. It was a short leap to realise I’d found my people. To re-writing my author bio on this site using they/ them/ their pronouns, to try it on.

For a few weeks, I felt painfully aware of personal pronouns in general. Every pronoun in my author bio seemed to be shouting. But I kept switching my pronouns, on Discord, then Twitter. Because it felt right. It fit. And in telling people my personal pronouns aren’t just ‘she/her’, they’re ‘they/ them and their’, I felt like I was giving myself room to breath. To speak, act, dress and relate to others in a gender neutral way when I was in a gender neutral mood. To be masculine on occasion and to act feminine when I felt that. With a balance of feminine and gender neutral, in clothing, speech, actions and how I relate to other people, throughout my day and week, I’m comfortable. Happiest. Myself.

Blue edged, pink, orange and yellow rainbow scroll with text: Get blogs in your inbox & updates from Elise every second month. Join my Fiction Frolics. Select this image to learn more.
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Related Reading

What Does Pride Mean To You? by me.

I Just Came Out as Nonbinary, Here’s What That Means, by Arlo, at Minus18.

Gender Definitions and Personal Pronoun info & advice, by NPR.

On perceiving nonbinary: Some Thoughts on Being Nonbinary by Luke Roelofs.

I Think I’m Neurodiverse. ADHD? by me.

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