Out and about in Wellington

Wellington was wonderful (despite the less than stellar weather). And the conference was amazing. As well as reminding me that being involved in the union wasn’t all hard work, and there’s actually a lot about it that I miss, being in a queer space for the first time was incredible – just being in amongst all those people who are fully embracing their identities was so inspiring. And it made me realise it’s about time I embraced my own identity in a more visible way (not that I’ve exactly hidden it, it’s just that I haven’t outright told a lot of people). So I suppose this is something of a coming out post.

I’m non-binary.  That means I don’t see myself as either a woman or a man, but as something… in-between?  off to one side?  none of the above?  I’m not sure exactly where my gender lies, but I just know it’s not at either of those binary poles.  It means I fall under the transgender umbrella, but doesn’t mean I’m going to “transition” as such – for me, this is more about how I feel on the inside than how I look on the outside.  I have, though, been gradually asking people in more areas of my life to use they/them/their pronouns for me (instead of she/her/hers), which is such a little thing, but surprisingly huge in how good it makes me feel when I hear it.

This isn’t exactly a sudden thing – when I look back over my life, I can recognise that the feeling was there all along, it’s just that I didn’t have a name for it.  It’s only in the last few years, as gender identities have become more widely discussed, that I came across the concept of non-binary genders, and a very large light-bulb clicked on in my head – ever had one of those moments when you learn something, and suddenly everything in your life makes a lot more sense? Yeah, that. It took me a couple of years of exploring the idea, and talking it through at great length (sorry!) with a couple of super diversity-aware friends (it does help to work in the Arts sometimes :-) ) before I felt ready to start slowly mentioning it to family and close friends (and apologies if you’re in that category and I didn’t tell you in person – it’s no reflection on how much I value you as a friend, it’s more that I didn’t want to do a big “coming out” announcement to anyone, so I mostly only mentioned it to people if the topic of gender happened to come up in conversation).

But yeah, as I said, now it feels like the right time to make that big announcement.  So, hello world, this is me, I’m a non-binary person.

P.S. Another post to follow (probably not until the weekend) with photos and stories from the rest of the weekend, but this post is getting a bit long, and I think I’ve over-stretched the definition of a tea break, so I really should get some work done!

P.P.S. I’m happy to answer questions (even those of a “101” nature) in the comments below.