Outside the Binary

CW: dysphoria, self harm


The discovery of our gender identity can be a long journey. For me, it’s one that started last year, one I’d like to share on this blog – because sharing helps me keep track of my progress, and make order in my own thoughts.

I’ve always identfied as cis-female, even after learning that non-binary is a thing (my best friend is non-binary and they’ve been out for some years), but in hindsight, I should have questioned my gender identity earlier.

I remember in high school how pleased I was when a friend of mine said she dreamed me as a man, and I was a hot man nonetheless. My own mother asked me very bluntly, ouf of the blue, if I ‘wanted to be a man’ (she was trying to be supportive in her own, awkward way). I went ‘wtf mum’ but well, it turns out, mother knows best.

I don’t ‘want to be a man’, though. But I’m not a woman either.

I always had a troublesome relationship with my body – or rather, with what’s inside my body. I hated (I still do, to some extent) my uterus, my ovaries, everything concerning reproduction triggers panic and anger. It’s hard even writing about it! And my breasts are just too big, I’m always so self-aware of them, and it’s not pleasing.

Last year I was applying for a therapeutic drug that, unfortunately, is teratogenic. Because of that, I’d have to take pregnancy tests each month. It angered me so, so much. I regressed to what I call a feral state – it happens when I have a strong depressive episode, I just start lashing out at everything and feel like a trapped animal. And the hate for my body reached its apex.

I started fantasizing about cutting my belly open with a knife, taking my uterus and ovaries out and throwing them away. Slash my breasts, purge my body of everything that was not mine. Because I didn’t feel those organs as mine, they felt alien, something someone put in my body without my consent. I was miserable.

That’s when I started questioning my gender identity. I asked my best friend for help – since they’re kinda the Gender Pope among our circle of friends – and honestly, I can’t remember what made me realise I was genderqueer. There’s not a single epiphany moment, more like a lot of small episodes finally clicking together, finally making sense.

I’m neither a woman nor a man, I’m comfortable calling myself genderqueer for now. I’m still female presenting most of the time, because I like skirts and makeup and pretty dresses (not that I think they’re inherently feminine, but you know, society). In Italian I go with female pronouns because our language is a mess – try being non binary when your language is gendered and doesn’t have a neutral option. It suck. In English, both she and xe are fine.

I still think I’m a freud, sometimes, because I’m comfortable being female presenting, because I realised I was genderqueer so late, because I’m still questioning to some extend what my gender is and how I feel about my body.

But then I remember that F-it, my identity is my own. And I know that, after considering my place outside the binary, my relationship with my body got better. The hate and anger I harbored for my whole reproductive system is gone, replaced only by a mild annoyance. I no longer feel the urge to cut myself open, I don’t need that to finally feel right. Such is the power of acceptance, I found my place, things are finally right, and I’m content.

(also shout out to my boyfriend who is the most precious human being and was super supportive as he always is)