“What is a non-binary?” For the first time someone asked me that in real life. Well, it was on the Internet, but I knew them from school. I explained what it means, how I see myself, and how I wish others would treat me.

“Eh pretty confusing” was the answer I received from them. 

Even though they asked me politely and probably understood me a bit better, I was still somewhat abashed. I will happily tell people about being a non-binary, but it usually happens online. Although the person was genuinely interested and open, I started to doubt myself a bit, yet again.

Looking back at my childhood, I was really boyish. My hair was short, unlike the other girls in my class. While others played with ponies, I played with plastic bugs. But things weren’t always black and white in my world, ever since I was a kid. I still played with all the toys, I grew my hair however I wanted it to be. Because I never thought “this is for boys, and this is for girls”. As a kid I had a soft animal named Snow. Snow wasn’t a girl, or a boy. I was 5 years old when I decided this.

I wanted to be like Snow.

I always admired girls who had a boyish style, and boys who had a girlish style. I always wanted to be something in between. I wanted that when people look at me, they can’t tell whether I am a girl or a boy.

I wanted to be seen as myself, not as a representative of my gender.

Even though my family wasn’t always the best or present, they still let me do what I wanted. They never told me “You’re a girl, you have to do it like this”. This gave me the freedom to dress how I wanted and be interested in different things. This is perhaps the only thing I am grateful to them for.

Sometimes I even doubt myself. “Do I really feel like this? Am I bothering other people with something I have experienced my whole life? Wouldn’t it be easier to just go along with society, like in comprehensive school? Obey the principle ‘Girls to the right, boys to the left’.” These questions come to mind when I experience conflicts with current social standards.

Thinking about the past, I realize I’ve always felt this way. And when my doubts start again, I remind myself that how I feel is not wrong. Me being non-binary isn’t incoherent or confusing, it’s a part of me. And I’m not alone, there are others who feel the same way.

Eventually, the world and others will follow them, who feel different than all the other people.

Want to read more?

Do you identify with Snow’s story? Or do you want to understand what it’s all about so you can be a better friend or relative to a non-binary person you know? You can find more information in English on the website of the US National Center for Transgender Equality, for example.

Photo CC Ryan Howerter.

A 22-year-old non-binary student of business administration, who studies many different languages as a hobby.

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