Living with a non-binary gender
I feel like there’s a lot of misconceptions or stereotypes about how non-binary people actually live. The most popular idea of a genderqueer person is someone who lives and passes 100% of the time as their gender assigned at birth, followed by the image of a person who is seen as a binary trans person who has transitioned but identifies as genderqueer in addition to identifying as trans wo/man. I don’t have either these experiences, so I thought I’d give an idea of what my life is actually like.
I identify as third gender. I do not identify as transgender, but I say I live in a transgender role because I choose to not accept and live in the gender I was assigned at birth.
Most people who are important to me know that I am nonbinary, including my main social sphere. There are certain circles of people I interact with who think I’m male, certain circles who think I’m female. Some think I’m cis, some think I’m trans, but I’m fairly positive all read me as “gender non-conforming.” It is difficult for me to pass as cisgender anything.
To my school’s administration and the government, I am the gender I was assigned at birth, but my name is legally gender nonspecific. People I meet on the street tend to be befuddled by my gender, and it’s difficult to make generalizations of how I am perceived. Many people I have only brief relationships with (such as my teachers) know me as generically “transgender,” with little specification of what that actually means to me.
I make an effort to inform everyone who I will be having significant interactions with that I am not cisgender; I generally leave it up to them how to interpret that. Except in situations where it would be unsafe or inappropriate, I refute implications that I am male or female.
I do not have “internal” male privilege; I sometimes receive male privilege when read as male, but it is usually tempered by also being perceived as queer or non-conforming. I sometimes receive oppression targeted towards women when read as female, but I neither feel comfortable nor am welcomed into women-only spaces. I never enter male or female only spaces at all. Except when legally required, I decline to choose male or female on forms, even if this means missing out on things.
I use only gender nonspecific bathrooms because I have the privilege of doing so at my university; otherwise I use male and female bathrooms more or less equally depending on situation. I often am forced to create my own social space, including mannerisms that mix male and female or are neither, clothing (especially creating appropriate nonbinary formal clothing), and ways of speaking.
These are just some of the ways being non-binary gendered manifests in my daily life. There’s lots of other stuff I haven’t addressed (for example, the way my gender manifests in queer versus straight spaces, or depending on the racial composition of my environment). If anyone has questions about my experiences, I’d be happy to answer them, keeping in mind however that I prefer to not mention my assigned sex on the internet.