Gender Troubles and Coming Out.
On October 11th of each year, National Coming Out Day is celebrated. Countless people use the day to celebrate coming out of the closet and remember that coming out is so brave. Being your authentic and true self, especially in the face of transphobia and queerphobia, will always be an act of bravery in my book. One thing I have learned over the years is that everyone’s journies in coming out will look different. Some people know from a young age that they’re gay or bi or trans (or something else). Others take some time to realize. Everyone’s journey is still valid though.
One thing I kept thinking about this most recent National Coming Out Day was how we’re never really done coming out. When I first really came out years ago, it was such a relief. I was met with such joy and happiness and love that all my fears dissolved. Being openly queer became such an important part about my identity but when I moved home after college, I realized that there were still so many people who didn’t know that I was queer. There were so many instances where I was out and proud but the people I was interacting with regularly had no idea. I had to grapple with coming out regularly and some of those fears came back.
Coming out isn’t just a one time process. Sometimes, it happens organically. And it often happens when new people come into your life or as your own identity shifts and changes (if it does). In addition to realizing that coming out was an ongoing process, I’ve also realized that my own identity has shifted and changed. I’ve been self-identifying as queer in my sexuality for years, in large part because there’s this freedom to not wholly define what my sexuality is. I do still identify as bisexual and my sexuality’s been a bit fluid since I first came out.
But I’ve realized over the past few months that my gender’s changed over the years. I’ve always been a tomboy. As a child, I hated dresses and skirts and many other stereotypically girly things. Cutting off my hair years ago was amazing and I realized that I really love having short hair. I don’t identify as a trans man but there’s something about the in-between of man and woman that’s utterly appealing to me. Nonbinary folks like Jeffrey Marsh have helped me realize that there’s so much room to play with gender.
I’m still trying to figure out my own gender and how I fit into this world. But knowing that coming out is an ongoing process and there’s always room to grow and change has been an essential process to this journey. There’s really no one path, no one right way to come out. So if you’re also struggling to know where you fit into the world, know that you’re not alone. These things aren’t a race and I know that I’m happy to have you in my community when you’re ready, regardless of whether you’re out.
[image text: not queer like gay. queer like escaping definition.
queer like some sort of fluidity and limitless at once.]