Honestly? I have absolutely no clue what the word ‘gender’ means. The dictionary definition reads ‘the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)’ which, really, could mean a variety of things. It’s not even easy enough to state that gender is defined by whether one chooses to present as masculine or feminine, because there are plenty of masculine women and feminine men. It’s not based on presentation, or biology- so what is it based on?
Gender is fluid. Denying that just makes you seem ignorant as, as stated in the above definition, it is based on social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. It is impossible to deny what being a man or a woman is as it is different for every single person on the planet. Some people define them by things that have very little significance, like biology, whereas others define them by appearance. It’s only human nature to look at someone that we see in public and place them into the category of ‘man’ or ‘woman’ because that’s what society has forced upon us.
So where does that leave the rest of us? The one’s who do not fully conform to the idea of being a man or a woman- those who live outside of the binary. It’s important to remember that there is no wrong way to be nonbinary- feminine, masculine, androgynous, designated male or female at birth, all are just as valid as each other. There’s no way of ‘proving’ your nonbinary identity, especially in a world that so often refuses to accept it and that is so set in rigid gender roles and the binary of male and female. Sometimes it even feels that by merely existing, you are attempting to make a statement, even though that is rarely the case.
I’ve viewed myself as agender (meaning I am genderless) for around two years now. I tried a mix and match of different labels, attempted many times to force myself into the box of a ‘girl’, but nothing about it felt right. I still enjoy dressing femininely, however. I enjoy makeup, skirts and I don’t feel the need to wear a binder. Whether you believe that makes me valid as nonbinary or not by this point makes little to no difference- the only validation when it comes to my own gender I need is my own, but it doesn’t stop me from craving the validation of what society views as ‘androgyny’.
But how do I view my gender? What does being ‘genderless’ mean to me? Honestly, I’ve contemplated this for a long time. I chose a new name for myself, new pronouns and have often attempted to change my image to fit into the boundaries of what people ‘expect’ from a nonbinary person. I accept that I am feminine and have no interest in being masculine, but it still feels like a stab to the heart when I’m reminded the rest of the world will only ever see me as a girl. It’s unrealistic to pray for a society that will accept me as nonbinary even in full makeup and a skirt, but it doesn’t stop me wishing for it. There’s nothing wrong with praying for a more tolerant and accepting society- it’s insane that we’re told that this makes us ‘too hopeful’ and ‘unrealistic’ and, my favourite, ‘bloody millennials’.
I don’t wish to conform to gender in any way, shape or form. I believe that is a hugely outdated concept and we all have some form of gender fluidity within us, whether we realise it or not. I have grown attached to my nonbinary identity and, whilst I may sometimes wish to be a cis female, in the long-run I realise I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being both nonbinary and femme is a part of who I am, and that’s okay. Exploring your gender is a good thing and imposing rigid gender roles onto other people within society has only proven to be incredibly harmful. If I could have realised my nonbinary identity earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have had so many questions. I’m glad I discovered this part of myself, even though it may make me want to disappear from the world sometimes and run away to a place where gender is an abstract concept that doesn’t exist. The question of what gender really is something I’m not sure I will ever really understand- and that’s okay. Questioning it becomes exhausting and, as long as I have somewhat of an idea of who I am and do not let anyone invalidate that, I’m okay. I’m okay.