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  • Mx. Tooley

Being Genderqueer.

I must admit that I startled myself when I first said it.

"I might be genderqueer."

It was surprising, scary, relieving, but so right.

I want to share this journey along with many other things on here because I believe it is something that should be shared. It is something that should be put out to the universe to be heard, recognized and hopefully, it will help others along in their journey.

The first thing I thought right after saying this aloud was no way. Why, at the lovely age of 30, am I now thinking this? It must be wrong. It can't be right. Everyone else's story is that they knew at five, so why am I just now figuring this out.

As I continued to marinate in all this, I realized a huge part of this had to do with language. The language was never there. The words to define how I have felt inside since I was a kid were not present. Until recently, I didn't have words to even define how I felt about my body (gender dysphoria). This was all new, but this was also very right.

Saying those words aloud led me to feel this sense of "Wow. I really like that." It led me to feel me for the first time. Truly me. Yes, that sounds depressing to say, but it actually is very empowering. I've gone on this journey that only I can go on. I've experienced the world in the only way I could. From that, I have been able to accept being genderqueer as part of me rather than try to deny it.

Non-binary is the umbrella term for all the genders that do not fit the binary. Genderqueer simply means that I do not identify with any given gender and do not subscribe to the socially constructed gender norms.

In just the couple weeks that I have been out, the amount of support and love has been overwhelming. Knowing the history of LGBTQ+, the abuse that occurs when one comes out, and the hesitation in the community to fully accept non-binary folxs, I was truly blown away by the understanding, purposeful use of pronouns, and love shown. I want this to be for everyone. I want all folxs who come out to be filled to the brim with the kindness, support, and love that I was shown. What is crazy is that even with all the support, coming out to loved ones (family or close friends) is nerve wracking. It pulls at you. Tugs at the stress levels and emotions. The fear of rejection sets in. Even when you know you have support, it is still there. Through the last two weeks, I am reminded of Brene Brown's TedTalk and her book I am currently reading. She talks about how courage and vulnerability are not on opposite ends, but in fact, cannot exist without each other. I realized the most powerful activists are the ones that are the most vulnerable. The ones that initiated the most change were the ones that were vulnerable.

Courage does not exist without vulnerability.

It was a powerful realization during this time. I've grown in just the last two weeks to realize that by being vulnerable with myself, my loved ones, and the social media community. Being vulnerable doesn't mean I will share everything about my life, but it does push me to be open more. I have found myself willing to take more steps, jump farther, fail harder, and take risks because of my acceptance of myself. Being myself is powerful. It is also vulnerable.

I write this to give voice to something some may not have the language for yet and to help process where I am at in my own head. There is still a lot of work to be done within myself to understand who I am. Also, being apart of the LGBTQ+ community does not exemplify me from continuing to do the work within myself. I must continually push myself to grow, learn, check my own bias, assumptions, and place. This journey is continual. This journey will not end.

I am thankful that you took time to read, listen, and grow with me. I have linked more resources to understanding genderqueer and the LGBTQ+ community.

Keep learning and growing!


Gender: https://www.genderspectrum.org/quick-links/understanding-gender/

LGBTQ+ Vocab: https://www.itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions/

Genderqueer Identity: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sex-sexuality-and-romance/201807/guide-genderqueer-non-binary-and-genderfluid-identity

History of Genderqueer: https://www.them.us/story/inqueery-genderqueer

Ways to Be a Support: https://www.glaad.org/transgender/allies