As I am sure a lot of you know, June has been coined by the queers, it is pride month. Each day of June has a specific gender or sexual orientation that is represented on that day of pride, with the whole month parading rainbows and stripy flags all over the place. In fact, there might have been a few banners and ribbons and flags and glitter and rainbows thrown at you, and some of you might be feeling really ashamed and uncomfortable by this. No, this article isn’t for the heterosexuals or the cis straight homophobes. This article is for people like me who aren’t cisgender, or who aren’t straight, or both, who aren’t so out, loud and proud about it. That month, and this article, is for you.
I am a team member for TWE, but I have decided to submit this article for the website anonymously, as I am going to be talking about myself and opening up about things that I am not so proud of, and am not ready for people to know just yet. Anxiety, fear, self-hate… they are all reasons why I don’t want my name attached to this article, even though I feel it has to be written and that people need to know.
Pride month is just as relevant and important to those of us who are not proud of our sexualities and genders, as it is for those who are comfortable and proud of themselves. We deserve, at least the opportunity, to celebrate ourselves even if we aren’t ready to. Also, I suppose, it does make it easier coming to terms with it and accepting ourselves when we see that people like us exist and love themselves for it, and are even loved by others.
I am eighteen years old, I am a lesbian/queer and I am gender fluid. My sexuality doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I love girls very much and it has never really made me feel bad or ashamed. It is just natural to me to love girls, in fact I love my girlfriend more than I can say and that has never been cause to issue. I celebrate being gay throughout Pride Month alongside everyone else who is out, loud and proud to be who they are.
However, Pride Month leaves a sour taste in my mouth due to the fact that my gender isn’t cis. I am gender fluid and that has never been okay with me. I call the days where I feel like a male my “Wrong Days” and they happen every now and again, they are days I often hate myself, feel anxious and depressed, and often dislike what I see in the mirror the most. I have long hair, a robust chest, thick thighs and wide hips. I very much look female, and on my Wrong Days, this makes me very unhappy and very uncomfortable, on top of feeling wrong and yucky for being in a male mindset.
I often find myself convincing myself that this is a phase; I am just being edgy or different, that it won’t last and I will one day just stop swinging between the two. I wake up sometimes and I am female, but by the end of the day I am male and in the wrong body. It always disappoints me when it happens, because those days are harder to convince myself that it is a phase, and it is even harder on the days when I wake up in the male mindset already.
One of the biggest hurdles for me is telling people, my former best friend found out after I changed my pronouns from She/Her to They/Them/She/Her in my Tumblr bio a couple years ago and she asked me why. I explained the confusion and unhappiness I had been feeling and that I was trying out the new label of gender fluid, to which she started using a name that a boy had given me previously as a joke. Reece became the name for the male side of my gender fluidity, a name I don’t actually like, but it became easier to differentiate to her when I was having a Wrong Day.
More recently, I have told my girlfriend. I am still scared that she is going to say “ew I don’t like you, I am breaking up with you,” but that has yet to happen, and some hopeful part of me doesn’t think she will. It’s a bit of a breakthrough moment for me to have someone I love and adore as much as I do, say that it’s okay. She even likes to reaffirm that “It’s not wrong, so stop calling it a Wrong Day.” She has also helped me choose a name that I like, and it’s genuinely helped me feel better on the days that are hard to look at myself in the mirror.
Getting message saying, “Hey Rory, I love you babe” is a really gentle way to reaffirm that I am who I am and that it’s okay.
I don’t have a lot of advice, as I am on this learning curve as much as you are, but I will say that it really isn’t that unnatural to question your gender or even your sexuality. It isn’t so wrong to find a label that suits you, even if it isn’t heteronormative or if it isn’t cisgender. There is no wrong way to be you, and you will find people who love you for you. I hope that you and I, we can learn to love ourselves as much as other people love us. Instead of having Wrong Days, we just have every day. Normal days… where we aren’t ashamed or uncomfortable with who we are; when we like who we are. I believe that this will happen for me and for you eventually, and we can start by changing the way we view the days where we are different. They aren’t wrong, we shouldn’t have to feel wrong.
My job description asks that I wear makeup every day I have a shift, to be prettier and more desirable. On the days where I want to cut my breasts off and wear jeans and converse, and yet I have to wear a low cut dress and a full face of makeup, it is hard on my mental health and the way I see myself. My girlfriend likes to say “rock it like a drag queen” which makes it feel a little lighter hearted. If that doesn’t make a similar situation feel better for you, you can try watching videos of manly men getting their makeup done and try copy similar looks, or you can even ask your bosses for a reprieve some days. You don’t have to tell them why, you can just say that you haven’t got makeup until you next get paid, you were at a friend’s house and forgot, ran out of time that morning because something needed immediate attention, or even use a feminist argument that it’s not fair to force you to wear makeup.
We can also research our genders more, look into it more, understand it more. There is no wrong way to be who we are, and for every one person who might hate it, there’s two who love you no matter what. Unconditional love is a real thing and you will find someone, many someones, who will have that unconditional love for you, even if you don’t love yourself yet. Just stay positive, look after yourself. Rock that skirt, that short haircut, that boy’s top, wear a binder if you have one, and most important of all, wear a smile because that looks better on you than any of the other things.
Pride month might make you feel a little more secretive, closeted, ashamed and uncomfortable, but remember the fact that there’s a lot of people out there celebrating your existence. You can even throw a rainbow flag out there yourself, like someone else’s coming out post, heart react the pride post for the non-cisgender people, and be supportive of all those who are doing what you will be able to do soon.
Good luck, keep on keeping on, you won’t be scared forever and even with one step forward, you might take two steps back with accepting yourself and coming out like I have recently, but it’s okay, don’t stop trying and let those who love you continue to love you. You are going to be okay.
Teenagers With Experience is an online platform ran by teenagers for teenagers. We provide support through sharing our own experiences and providing advice based from this. If you need support, feel free to reach out to us on one of our social media platforms. We will do our best to support you and if we feel we cannot we will direct you to more suited, professional support.