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Describing nonbinary to cis people?

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by astriferous, Jul 17, 2017 at 2:39 AM.

  1. astriferous

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    Not sure whether to put this in Coming Out Advice or here, but I keep trying to find the words to come out as nonbinary to my parents, but I feel like however I try to describe it, it just sounds like I don't like being feminine. How do you describe your experience as a nonbinary person? What it feels like to be nonbinary, etc? I'm trying to make my experience basically understandable to my parents (because I don't think cis people will ever completely and truly understand this as if they were in our shoes, imo). I don't want to talk about the "gender is a spectrum" basics, I'm thinking more personal, if that makes sense?
     
  2. i am just me

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    I know that problem ... Have you talked about your gender to anyone else before? To someone who doesn't care if you mess up the words and need to start over, because they are open-minded and accepting of nonbinary genders? If you have, maybe try practicing with that person or ask them which of your explanations was most understandable and clear.

    If your parents are the people you want to come out to first, then that's great as well. For me, it usually helps to write down how I would explain things. They become much clearer to myself that was too. What descriptions have you come up with so far?

    I describe my personal experience of nonbinary as a feeling of disconnection. I start of with the part about my gender-nonconforming childhood and how uncomfortable I felt when my chest started growing. Then I explain that in hindsight, I didn't like to do stereotypically feminine things as a kid not because I simply liked cars more than dolls, but because I didn't want to be associated with being a girl. Nowadays, my interests are a wild mixture of what is considered masculine and feminine, because I don't care about the outward appearance of these things anymore.
    However, I still cringe if someone refers to me using female pronouns and when I refer to myself, I feel much more comfortable using the masculine ending of nouns, as it is considered the more neutral form in Germany. I also still don't like my chest. This is what convinces me that I am not a woman.
    However, I am not a man either. I have done the "what-if" thought experiment over and over again in my mind, and I always come to the conclusion that if I had a male body, something would feel off as well. For example, I am very fond of my rather androgynous face and I'd hate it if it was clearly masculine.

    I hope that helped you a little :slight_smile: I wish you all the best with coming out to your parents!
     
  3. SomecallhimTim

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    I'm not non binary but I have a close friend who is. One of the things that seemed to work when they came out was making sure people knew that they experience dysphoria. That way people understood that it wasn't just about expression or what they liked. Idk if that helps at all. I think all of i am just me's ideas are probably a good way to go
     
  4. astriferous

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    Thanks so much for the help, Quinn, these bits were particularly helpful for me (especially the first quote, emphasis mine obvs) as I can relate to them and now I know how to describe those feelings. I had been trying to write a coming out letter to my mom specifically, and I keep trying to get at the fact that when I think about myself I don't think "female", but it's hard. Ty :blush: I have talked about my gender to others before (coming out to friends) but they all knew what nonbinary meant so that's all I said. I don't think I've ever had to explain it like this before in order to come out :sweat_smile:

    This is good advice, thank you!
     
  5. i am just me

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    I'm glad I could help you :slight_smile: I struggled with the same question a while ago and I'm still not 100% happy with my answer.

    I think a letter is a good idea in this case. You can pick your words in advance that way and don't have to worry about saying possibly confusing things because you're nervous. I hope things will go well!
     
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  6. Nike007

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    When I have come out, which has now been a total of four people, I didn't fully explain non-binary. Two of them already knew what it meant, and the other two I'm not sure... They didn't say anything about it. But for me, I had to explain my specific non-binary identity, as I was asked if I had one, which I do. I just explained how i feel male and female at the same time, but am still one gender. I also did mention that I experience dysphoria, though I didn't mention what type. I have bottom dysphoria all the time, half of the time top, and social dysphoria. I hate being referred to as male, but am okay about female.

    And if they didn't know what dysphoria means (it wasn't the case for me here), I would just say that it's a discomfort that something is there that shouldn't be. Just as an example (to explain to someone), say you identified as a woman and had a beard. You would feel discomfort with yourself, as it looks and feels unnatural, and in our current society, people would probably give you weird looks and/or comments about it. It would make you feel awkward, as you know you are female and shouldn't have a beard, but it's there. You could explain like this. Sorry if this example is bad.

    But if I were asked to explain what a non-binary gender is specifically, I would say that I do not feel like the gender I was assigned at birth, but yet I do not feel like the other common gender either, but somewhere in between. I do not feel comfortable identifying as male or female, as it causes me lots of dysphoria (anxiety and depression if they aren't familiar about dysphoria and you don't have time to explain it).

    Hope this helps. Sorry that this is all over the place.

    -Niko