Gender & identity
More and more often I am attending events where it is common to ask attendees which pronouns they want to be addressed as. So, whether one wants to be addressed as he/him, they/them or she/her. This does not only happen in trans communities, but also beyond. Very liberating for that large group of people who don't identify as "men" or "women"!
To me it is a very good thing that more attention is being paid to how people experience their gender identity. It is fantastic that it becomes more and more a matter of fact to tell not only your name, but also your pronoun when in a introduction round. Hopefully, it won't be long until this has become the default everywhere!
Because someone's gender identity simply cannot be seen on the outside. (What you do see on the outside is sexe. Transgender people are living proof that sexe and gender identity do not always match! :-))
This development forced me to think again about my own gender identity. About 15 years ago, when I decided to adjust my body to my inner identity, I naturally thought about it extensively.
At that time we were still talking about "transsexuals" (where we now use "transgender people") and "transgender people" (where we now use "non-binary people"). I didn't feel like a woman and I wanted a male body, so I assumed at the time to be a straightforward transsexual. In any case, I always identified as a "transman".
Sexe vs gender
I have been living as a man for 13 years now. In those years I have gone through a huge development: from a starting, uncertain transman into the mature, self-conscious transman that I have become step by step.
That medical treatment has been one of the best choices in my life. I'm still very happy with that.
But the concept of "gender identity" is becoming increasingly difficult for me. Because I wanted to have a male body, I always assumed that my gender identity would also be "male". But not that long ago I had to conclude that this is not my truth. In fact, the longer I think about it, the less I understand with the concept of "gender identity".
I am human
If people ask me how I identify my deepest self, the answer invariably is "I feel human". Gender simply does not occur in my head. It is not part of my identity. In short, it has no place in my life. I don't feel like a man, I don't feel like a woman and I don't feel in between. I just feel human.
That is why I find it increasingly annoying to have to comment on this. I don't WANT to choose between he/him, they/them or she/her. I also CANNOT choose, because the longer I think about these words, the more meaningless these words become, for me personally.
Years ago a very good friend once said to me that I am completely non-binary. It took about 10 years, but now I know: that person was incredibly right! :-)
During the Beyond the Binary Day in 2018 I participated in an interview by vreer verkerke. There I spoke about being non-binary for the first time. Those with Facebook can view the conversation here.