On Binding and Self-Acceptance

Last night (ok it was actually four nights ago, I was behind on editing this) I did something I’ve been waiting for for a while now, I ordered a binder. This came a month after I finally decided to do it, I’d been thinking about it for much longer, but wasn’t ready to actually buy one yet.

There were quite a few delays in me actually getting one. First I had to measure myself, then I found out I had done it wrong, so I had to do it again. Equipped  with my proper measurements I sent an email to customer support asking for a size recommendation (technically I sent another email, the first one was with the off measurements, so the customer service person helped me out figuring out how to do it right). I got a reply back really quickly, only to find out the size was sold out. That was ok, I was waiting on my last paycheck anyway; so I signed up to be notified when they got more in. Which was only a couple of days later. Unfortunately, that was the same day my credit card information had been stolen so I had to put a freeze on my card. By the time that finally got sorted out they were sold out again. So back to the waiting list. Then finally I got another in-stock e-mail, and this time, I had a working credit card. So I placed my order.

I’m super excited. And honestly a little nervous too. Since I’ve never had one before I don’t know how tight is too tight, so even with the sizing help, I’m a little worried it won’t fit. But that’s ok because if that is what happens .I can get a new one shipped for free since I asked them for sizing help. So overall I can’t wait for that package to arrive. (Also I just want to clarify that the delays in my getting ordering it was 100% on me, they had great response time throughout the whole thing and if I wasn’t having terrible luck I would probably have it already). (Also for anyone wanting to know where I got the binder, it’s from GC2B. I’ll probably write more about them and the binder when I get it).

And ok sure it’s just a piece of fabric that will (hopefully) help flatten my (already fairly small thankfully) chest, it’s not a magic wand that is going to suddenly take away all of my dysphoria about my chest, but it’s still a pretty exciting step that’s definitely going to help. Which leads me to what I really want to talk about today: self-acceptance.

 

One of the most common arguments I see against transgender people (other than religious based arguments) is, “why can’t you just accept yourself?” Well, I want to say something to those people: I do accept myself. It took a while (and somedays I maybe don’t do as great of a job at it) but I’ve learned to love myself, and that includes embracing the fact that I’m non-binary. And I know some trans people do hate being trans, and sometimes that makes them hate themselves, and I want to send good vibes to anyone in that situation. That being said, it doesn’t mean that I automatically hate myself just because I’m non-binary, I don’t.  And that being said I’m not saying I’ve got everything figured out, I don’t, what I am saying, is that I’m getting there, and somedays I am there, sometimes I’m not. But all that’s ok (even if it doesn’t always feel like it).

The other argument I hear a lot is, which also relates to self-acceptance, is “why change something that can’t be changed?” Well, I’ve got something to say to those people too. Sure I can’t undo the fact that I was anatomically born a certain way, but so what? The truth is, what’s in my pants is no one’s business.

And honestly, limiting myself to a certain gender just because of my anatomy seems pretty silly to me, why should something so arbitrary as my anatomy determine who I am? Some people don’t ever question their gender, and that’s perfectly fine, but so is realizing that you shouldn’t force to identify in  a certain because someone early  on declared “IT’S A BOY!” or “IT’S A GIRL”. People are a lot more complex and wonderful than that.

So yeah, I can’t wait to get my binder, and the flat chest appearance that will bring, but I also accept myself for who I am.

 

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This Is Me

A few weeks ago I spent an afternoon trying to work on my memoir. This has been an on and off process for a few years now; I’ve restarted and changed directions more times than I care to count. I finally worked out some solid (I really hope anyway) goals, but there’s one question I still can’t answer. Should I really be writing one?

Because here’s the thing, I haven’t really done anything most people would consider memoir-worthy. I’m 21 years old, I go to community college and sometimes I work part time at the bookstore there. I’ve got a small circle of friends. I have a dog and three birds. I have a younger sister. I’ve never dated. And I live at home. So not that interesting. But none of those aspects about me are why I wanted to write a memoir.

The reason I wanted to write one is because . . . I identify as non-binary (huh, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever said that flat-out in any kind of public manner). If you google that you’ll probably get an infinite number of definitions. Some of those are probably written by people who don’t know anything about gender and are inaccurate at best, offensive at worst. Most of them are probably right, at least to the person who wrote them. See the thing is, it’s got a lot of definition because it means a lot of things to a lot of different people. It’s an umbrella term, but it’s also an identity.

So ok, what is non-binary? (If you are up to date on all things gender feel free to skip this part, it’s going to get a bit explain-y) Well, simply put, it’s an umbrella term for anyone who didn’t fit into the binary gender options; someone who doesn’t identify with being a man or woman. A lot of non-binary people also identify as transgender, but not all of them do, for various reasons. Likewise, not all transgender people are non-binary. Personally, I haven’t really thought about whether or not I identify as trans, even though, since I don’t identify as the gender I was assigned at birth, I could.

Ok, I know some of you might be thinking, but wait, outside of being a man or woman, what else is there? Well, a lot. An endless amount actually. Because gender is not constrained to one’s anatomy, or in other words, their sex. Gender exists inside your head. That’s a foreign concept to a lot of people, but it really does I promise, though I will admit explaining that is fairly hard, but so are plenty of other things, that doesn’t stop them from being true. I will probably try to explain that to the best of my ability, but I want to keep this a brief intro post, not an in-depth gender discussion.

Ok, end of general explaining. Back to me. If I’m in a situation where I feel I need to, or want to, label myself I usually go with either; non-binary, queer, or gay, depending on the situation and how I’m feeling that day. Non-binary put the emphasis on my gender, gay on my sexuality, and queer on both. I could also throw asexual in there, but I don’t usually because I just don’t really like talking about sex at all, and if I bring it up, I usually end up having to. If I wanted to get really specific, though, other labels that I’ve been throwing around are: agender, gender-fluid, gender-flux, and demi-boy. The reason I don’t usually go with this is because I feel like my gender changes too much/doesn’t want to be pinned down, enough for me to really want to stick with any of those. Somedays one of those will work for me, some days they don’t. So that’s why I call myself non-binary.

Basically, I usually lean towards the masculine side of the spectrum, but some days I’m off it all together. Occasionally I’ll be all the way over on the feminine end, but that doesn’t happen too much. I pretty much always present masculine or androgynous . I’m shifting to using “they” pronouns, and picking a new name. But back to the start of this, the memoir.

Ultimately, the reason I wanted to write it wasn’t just because I’m non-binary, plenty of people are. The reason I wanted to write it was so that more people could know what that meant. Sure it would just be my story, my experience, but it would be something. When I first started questing my sexuality, and later my gender, I turned to books. There wasn’t much well written LGBTQIA literature, especially not YA stuff, and certainly not any memoirs. And what there was, at least that I found, wasn’t anything that I could fully connect with. There weren’t any with non-binary characters. The internet was a huge help, and I’ve started to find more books now than I did then, but there is still a gap. So I hoped that I could fill that. And I haven’t given up, but honestly, I don’t have the motivation to write a full-length memoir right now, but I can make this blog. I can be another voice. So maybe no one reads this, maybe only a couple of people do. I’m sure some people won’t get it. But if nothing else I get to get my words out there, and hopefully that counts for something, for someone.

So this is me, AJ (for now), and this is my blog.