🌼 My Way of Being a THEY/THEM 🌼

Jan 4, 2023

It was in 2016 when I subconsciously realized I was non-binary. That was the first time I hopped on Spotify. Even at that time “them” gave the option of picking non-binary as one’s gender. I felt (at the time) strangely affirmed but because of the ridicule I had already faced for revealing my sexuality and, at that time, faith. I did not feel comfortable exploring that feeling and seeing where it led.

It was in 2018 when I did something I had never done before and introduced myself as Rayn instead of my birth-name. It was so freeing, like I finally had the ability to decide what I would call myself and outwardly express who I was without constant ridicule and people trying to tell me who I was. It was as if I could say out loud and proud, “This is me, and no one gets to tell me who that person is, or should be, should wear, should feel, should believe.” I was alone, but I was free.

It was in 2020, that I fully embraced and accepted that I was non-binary. This was right around the time that more femme afab (assign female at birth) people were more visual and I could finally accept that aspect of my gender without worrying that I would have to sacrifice my femininity to be believed and affirmed. I started by toeing the line seeing if they/them pronouns along with the ones I was using at the time (she/her) would feel right. And when I started to feel gender dysphoria from no one ever using they/them to describe me I moved exclusively to they/them, which feels more right than she/her.

Image Description: A portrait picture of Rayn, a black femme, who is smiling at the camera. They are wearing a brown, green and red head scarf tied in a loose knot at the top of their head and pink roundish glasses. The small amount of their upper body that is in the frame is wrapped in a lavender fabric. They are joyfully presenting one of their beaded daisy earrings.

To be non-binary is described as not being in the gender binary of man/women. Well for me personally that definition doesn’t fit quite right — or more so should I say fully. For me being non-binary is an accumulation of things.

I’ll start with the closest to that definition. I have never felt a connection with womanhood. While I have always felt drawn towards femininity, whenever I was referred to as a woman or a young lady or ma’am I always felt a discomfort or unconnected to those terms. Even before I knew I was non-binary I new that womanhood was not what I was moving towards as I matured and learned more about who I was and who I was becoming.

Another part is me saying “I will not, and should be expected to abide by gender norms, just because of the body I was born in”. I feel like we still live in a society that tries to otherize people who don’t fit neatly into a place. By saying loudly and proudly that I don’t (and don’t need to) in order to have community and belonging I’m taking back some of the power that society tries to excise over me as an individual.

A third part, for me, is spiritual. As a way to get closer and practice being within creation I feel like we have to cast aside some things that tie us too closely to our individual personhood. One of the things I chose to cast aside was binary gender and how people perceive me through that lens. There may or may not be more things in the future, but more now that is what I have cast aside.