Unless you literally live underground, you’ll have noticed that the subject of gender is constantly in the news at the moment. Whether it’s being thrown around by politicians or misunderstood by news presenters, the topic of gender is clearly piquing peoples’ interest. We live in a society where the binary system of male or female just isn’t enough anymore, and there are more people coming out as trans, nonbinary or genderqueer than ever.
This week, we’ve been lucky enough to get an interview with Zya, a nonbinary teen. They talked to us about what it’s like to identify as nonbinary and gave us some helpful tips on how to come out.
What do you identify as?
And what does that mean?
That means that I don’t identify as male or female. I identify as genderless, as neither.
What pronouns do you use?
Why those pronouns, rather than xe/xer/xim?
I feel like it’s more inclusive and doesn’t point to a particular gender.
What was the hardest thing about coming out?
The reactions from people because I came out at a time when there was a lot of people saying, “Oh I identify as a helicopter,” and making lots of jokes about it. So I just tried to ignore it. It really hurt because I knew they were getting at me, even if they didn’t really mean to. Just people trying to accept it.
What was the best thing about coming out?
The freedom. Because, like, when you come out, people in this society now are accepting and they want to ask you questions to understand more about it. Everyone was just trying their best to be my friend and use the correct pronouns.
Do you think being nonbinary will become more accepted in the future?
Yeah, because a lot of places now have genderless bathrooms and stuff, which is very good. People feel more comfortable in those kinds of environments, where they have a place to escape to.
When you meet people, such as new friends, when do you tell them that you’re nonbinary?
I mean, I tell them when I feel like I can trust them. If I’ve just met them and they start expressing views that I don’t think are okay, then I probably won’t tell them. Maybe two months in, when it’s safe to do so.
How did you come out to your family?
I looked up binders on the family computer and left the tabs open! I was too scared to tell them directly that I was nonbinary. And then my mum just came up to my room and asked me what it was about, and I came out. She was fine. We did kind of have an argument about binding because she was worried about it. But eventually she was fine.
I think it was a few months in that I was like, “Am I trans? I don’t know?” It’s just so confusing. I was talking to my friends about it and they said not to worry, that they’d accept me either way. I realised two hours later that maybe I’m not.
It’s difficult, isn’t it?
Yeah, because the more you ask questions, the more confused you are about yourself.
Do you have any tips for nonbinary people who aren’t out yet or who are struggling?
Try and find a time where you can feel comfortable and safe to come out. That’s the most important thing. Do as much as you can to feel as comfortable as possible. So, like, maybe if you want a flat chest, try binding, safely. Don’t use bandages because that’s not good for you. Cut your hair if you want to feel masculine, put a wig on or use makeup. Make yourself more comfortable.
Thanks for chatting with me!
Featured image: Nonbinary flag as created by Kye Rowan.