Tag Archives: Genderqueer

binarist asshattery (9000th edition)

yeah, more binarist asshattery. it never ends. to no one’s shock ever, care2 make a difference is binarist. i wouldn’t give a fuck, but they always have awesomegrumpy mx. punk is grumpy petitions i want to sign– which i can’t sign without misgendering myself. in order to sign petitions, you need to sign in (or register) and choose a binary gender and a gendered prefix (unless you choose “dr.”).

i was so upset that i couldn’t sign this particular petition, i sent an email to them about it. who knows if they’ll ever get back to me, but here it is:

i would love to create an account with care2 make a difference. unfortunately, you’ve chosen to force people to choose between male and female when creating an account. you’ve also chosen to force people to choose a gendered prefix while signing petitions (unless the person chooses “dr.”). this sucks because lots of people (ok, a few people) are 1) neither men nor women or 2) they’re both.

for example, i’m a nonbinary trans* person; i’m neither a man nor a woman. how the hell am i supposed to create an account here or sign petitions? i refuse to just lie and erase myself. you’re implicitly excluding nonbinary people from your site, whether or not you mean to.

please consider allowing people to forgo choosing a gender and a gendered prefix. alternatively, you could add “mx.” as a prefix option (a non-gendered prefix) and “nonbinary” as a gender option.

i’d create a petition about this, but i’d have to misgender myself in order to do it. i challenge you to care to make a difference.

sincerely,

mx. punk

i know, i know. i probably shouldn’t care about this one little petition site. there’re tons of other petitions for me to sign. i know. i guess their whole “human rights” / “make a difference!” thing got to me.  cuz they only appear interested in human rights for certain people, i guess.

but who knows. maybe they’ll email me back and be all like, “whoa! we didn’t know there were more than 2 genders!gold ally star holy shit, we’ll fix that right away! human rights for everyone!” cuz that’d be rad and i would award them the coveted gold ally star. and who the fuck wouldn’t want to be awarded the gold ally star, right? that’s what i’d like to know.

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also, my partner and i are moving (houses, not blogs) to a cabin in the forest on an even smaller island! with a bigger vegetable garden! and my partner and i can actually afford it! (srsly, wtf.) and it’s crunch time at school and we’re moving on april 1st, so holy shit we’re freaking out. yeah.

so i have lots of post ideas, but not much time for posting (except i have a few almost-finished posts i might finish soon). stick around, though, my lovelies. <3 school’ll be over halfway through april; be ready.

stay splendid, cats. <3 and don’t eat too much glitter!

belonging-ful

so cats keep asking me how i know i’m nonbinary, mostly cuz they’re questioning their own genders. i’ve sorta touched on this in the past (here and here), but i want to write about it again.

to be clear, i’m not searching for “validation” through writing about knowing my gender. i want to write about it cuz i was a very confused kid, my relevant writings here are a bit contradictory, and i’m still maybe a tad confused as to how i know i’m nonbinary.

also, it’s not like society exactly leaves a shit-ton of space for this kind of thing. it’s no fucking wonder this shit is confusing, right? i think i just want to tell “my story” ™ over and over and over again til i can peel away the bullshit and the hurt.

i guess i want to say more than simply, “i just knew!”  maybe it’s time, ya know? i’ve been thinking and growing; maybe i have some insights i didn’t have before. i’m not expecting to answer any huge questions by writing this post; maybe i just have an itch to scratch.

to start with, i feel comfy in a group of nonbinary cats. this is something i’ve learned from hanging out with nonbinary cats in my qsa. i’m ok with being lumped in with them, gender-wise. even if we all express our genders differently, even if some of us are dfab and some of us are dmab, i still feel like a member of the murder (nonbinary cats come in murders, you see). i feel like i fucking belong on a fundamental level.

if gender is at least somewhat social, if gender is, as natalie puts it, a communicative function, i feel comfortable saying what other nonbinary folks are saying. we can say it together and i don’t feel the need to make myself really stand out. i don’t feel the need to emphasize our differences. well, i guess i don’t feel the need to emphasize our differences gender-wise, though i have great respect for our other differences.

it’s not like our other differences disappear, obviously. my experiences as a white dfab nonbinary person will never be the same as the experiences of a first nations dmab nonbinary person, for instance. but when i’m around nonbinary people, i’m very aware of what we DO share. it’s like this piece of me that doesn’t otherwise belong anywhere gets to feel at home. i think that sense of belonging is an important clue.

still, it’s not like i didn’t know i was nonbinary before i joined my school’s qsa. i did know. maybe i just knew i where i didn’t belong. maybe i had an idea of how it would feel to be around other nonbinary folks: belonging-ful.

i feel like gender is about belongingness and communication. well, i feel like my gender is about belongingness and communication.  i bet this shit is different for everyone, though. thoughts?

anyway, i’m pretty sure this is a worthless exercise. i didn’t end up writing anything more than “i just knew,” did i? regardless, i’ll probably post this cuz i haven’t posted anything in awhile and i just wanna post something. there’s a moral, though; mx. punk should probably stop writing posts about this. they always end up saying very little. bleh.

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also, i’m back! yay! i had a reallyreally relaxing holiday. my partner and i are still cut from (most) of his side of the family (i should really update you cats on the family shit), so christmas wasn’t the same as before. it was the first year he didn’t see his parents and siblings on christmas, but we managed to start some fun traditions of our own. also, we spent a shit-ton of time together. yay! and i came out to some people! basically, i was too busy to write posts.

but i think i’m back. i have scads of post-ideas; i’ll get on writing some shit for you lovely cats to peruse. huzzah!

silly nobinary folks! accurate pronouns are for binary people!

there’s this thing that sucks really hard: binary folks basically telling nonbinary folks that asking for respect (asking for our nongendered pronouns) is asking too much.  it needs to stop, cats.  please.

we don’t need binary folks to tell us how fucking hard it is to get other people to respect our nongendered pronouns.  we already know that.  we LIVE that.  so when well-meaning binary folks come along and tell us (kindly, in my experience) that the thing we’re asking for is going to make work for other people—don’t.  we already know.

i’m not saying you should be all like, “yeah!  i bet if you just tell everyone, people will automatically start applying your nongendered pronouns to you without any fuckups!  yeah!”  cuz, you know, that’d come off as kinda sarcastic.

but you could be all like, “yeah, i’ll do my best.  please correct me when i slip up and i promise to be graceful about it.  do you want me to help you teach other people your pronouns?”  something like that.  cuz honest support would be rad.  thanks, cats.

for a small sampling of receipts, check out the comment section of gender-neutral pronouns presenting a problem [TRIGGER WARNING: binarist asshattery].

coming out as trans* at school

school will be starting soon; i’ll be returning to university on september 4th.  i’m really fucking nervous.  like, i’m losing sleep and not really taking care of myself (not spending enough time outside, mainly).  i keep promising myself that i’ll be fine once school actually starts and i’ll start taking care of myself at that point, but i’m feeling pretty shitty.

so i’ve decided to start taking care of myself NOW by going outside more often, writing scary fairy tales, and telling you cats about my silly nervous tummy.

i totally didn’t mean for that to sound so cute.  sorry, folks.

anyway, i’ll be wearing my gender tag to school and insisting on non-gendered pronouns.  last year, i was out to everybody i managed to bring it up with and i used the non-gendered bathrooms exclusively, but this is gonna be different.  and that freaks me the fuck out, folks.  like, i’m having nightmares about it already.

last night, i had this nightmare where this teacher who i really look up to went all radscum on me cuz his partner is a radfem and my dream-brain thinks he must be total radscum.  even though i have no idea how he feels about trans* people and it’s never even come up.  but it WILL come up on the first day of school.  i’ll be sitting right in front of him wearing my gender tag and i won’t let him misgender me without protesting loudly.

i’ll have to be loud about my nonbinary gender around the other students, too.  most of them don’t know me at all cuz i tend to keep to myself.  i USED to be all social at school, but my increasing social dysphoria really shut me up last year, so i’m gonna be that weird, withdrawn person who only comes out to correct misgendering.

cuz the thing is, once somebody knows i’m nonbinary, THEY WILL NEVER GET AWAY WITH MISGENDERING ME AGAIN.  EVER.  that’s like, part of my self-respect policy, paragraph 11.  so i’m intimidated right now.  i’m intimidated by all the standing up for myself i’m going to do at school.

also, i need to plan out what i’m going to say to people.  i think just telling people my pronouns are “they/them/their” should be good enough.  cuz i already have trouble when i try to explain nonbinary gender to peoples unless they’re specifically interested in it.  thoughts on this?

i don’t know what i’m scared of specifically, but i just wanted to talk about it in the open with you lovely peoples.  thanks for reading, cats!

how do you deal with dysphoria/misgendering at school?

the search term post: every blogger has to write at least one of these

some bloggers like to tell their readers about their most awesome search engine terms every month, but i’ve been saving mine up since i started blogging over a year ago.  i’ve been compiling a list of my favorite search terms all this time– and now i’m gonna share ’em with you.  yay!

first, though, i’d like to thank all the intrepid internaughts who made this totally ridiculous list possible.  yay for you!  (seriously, yay!)

(to be totally clear, these are search terms that led peoples to my splendid blog-space.)

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i don’t believe in abelism

rad!  cuz your disbelief in ableism magically makes ableism DISAPPEAR!  no doubt, pwd throughout the galaxy will hail you as a hero.

photo scaly man

i assume you’re talking about warren, the famed half-fish superhero.  yeah, i know that cat.  conveniently, he just commissioned a portrait:

look no pants ass

just a random ass for ya.  without pants.  also without legs cuz i suck at drawing.  the background is blue cuz, well, the sunny days with blue skies are the best days for streaking, imo.

how to talk to a pansexual

use small words in small word-strings.  we suck with word-stuffs.

i’m awesome ninja!

me, too!

what does a pansexual’s brain look like?

like rainbow jar cakes.  that’s why we’re so weird; people keep mistaking our brains for delicious snacks and EATING them.  in turn, this makes us want to eat other people’s brains in order to regain cephalization.

what to do if you’re pansexual

start eating other people’s brains and smearing glitter all over your body!

boys men end cock 10 inges fucks end gay men

what does “inges” mean?  is it some sex slang term i’ve never heard of?  is it a sex toy?  also, how young are these boys you’re searching for?  cuz if they’re under 18, you can fuck the fuck off.

pansexualism interesting facts

we’re all ninjas.  there’s an interesting fact for ya.  also, our brains look like rainbow jar cakes.

christmas gifts genderqueer pink

no pink, please.  some fishnets and a plaid shirt would be rad gifts, though.  and some acrylic paints; mine are running out.  also, food stamps would rock neoncore.

pansexual the only valid identity

really?!  somebody should probably tell the gay/bi/straight/ace etc. people!  alert the media!  (seriously, though.  what planet are you from and can i go there on vacation?)

pansexuals have taken over

and now everyone must engage in a worldwide bondage/sex riot!  huzzah!

genitals shoes

wash the shoes before combining those 2 items, k?

do pansexuals fuck toasters?

no, silly!  we only fuck pans.  however, we DO tend to discriminate against non-stick pans cuz we don’t want to get teflon on/in our glistening junk.  lube works better, anyway; we like a little friction.

non-binary trans people everywhere

non-binary trans* folks have joined forces with pansexual folks to take over the world; of COURSE we’re everywhere.  and why?!  cuz we share the dream of a worldwide bondage/sex riot!

why so many pansexuals

because we’ve taken over, remember?  and we’re going to have a worldwide bondage/sex riot?  REMEMBER?  you said you’d wear your harness!

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you’re welcome.

reader question: gender-quest!

so somebody messaged me with some questions about gender and such– and i tried my very best to answer their questions to the best of my abilities.  i decided to share our conversation with you neon cats cuz a) you might have some rad advice for the op and b) other people might relate to the op’s gender-quest.  (i certainly do!)

so here’s the message:

Hi Mx. Punk!

I have a question for you.  I’ve identified as pansexual for about a year, and before quite recently I never thought one lick about my gender identification.  It was mainstream socialization, I suppose, to assume that I was a cis female. But having thought a lot about how everyone assumes they’re straight until… they’re not (at least, in my experience), I wonder if the same thing is happening to me with my gender identification.

I mean, I enjoy a lot of things stereo-typically referred to as “girly” (makeup, fashion, gossip, I dunno what the fuck else), but  at the same time I know that those things aren’t just reserved to girls, and that not even all girls like them.

I was just wondering, I suppose, how you knew that you were non-binary.

I mean, I like the things that I like.  I know that I’m not male, and I have no desire to change my body as such (I like my body a lot!), but I don’t quite know how to tell if I’m female or not.  I mean, is there something I do that makes me female?  Something I like?  That sounds so terribly sexist, which I hate, but I don’t know another way to phrase it!

If I want to keep my physically female body, but act however the fuck I want regardless of gender, does that make me genderfuck?  Does it make me non-binary?  Or am I still female?

I am so confused as to all of this, and I’m asking you because you seem like a kind, non-judgmental person.  Please give me some advice, and please please please correct any mistakes I made in this post! I’m trying so hard not to offend anyone, but learning  all these new terms is hard!

Thanks a ton!

hi!

so, there’s no single path to realizing that you’re trans*; i think it’s pretty unique for everybody.  i think it’s pretty common for trans* people to assume they’re cis for awhile due to social conditioning.  some people don’t realize they’re trans* til they’re getting rather elderly, actually.

personally, i knew i wasn’t a girl or a boy when i was in kindergarten (preschool, too, i think), but i was bombarded with binarist and cissexist messages until i began to seriously doubt my own feelings.  society basically convinced me that i was a cis girl; i believed i was a cis girl for YEARS, despite having known the truth as a small child.  so, yep, i think it’s absolutely possible (and even common) for trans* people to be convinced to not even question their assigned gender.

i think that’s a good comparison between “assumed heterosexual” and “assumed cisgender”.  as to whether you’ve been assuming you’re cis when you’re really trans*– you’re the only one who can answer that question.  i know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth.  i guess the upside of that is that if you DO decide you’re non-binary trans*, nobody will get to contradict you.

so you mention liking things coded as feminine.  i think you’re absolutely right about guys and non-binary folks getting to like things coded as feminine; gender expression stereotypes are ridiculous.  they are mutable; they change from culture to culture and from year to year.

to me, that means that we drew the line between “girl stuff” and “boy stuff” in some random place; we could’ve drawn it anywhere.  so, yeah, i don’t think your appreciation for things coded as feminine necessarily has anything to do with your actual gender.

i think it’s important to think about the difference between gender and gender expression, ya know?  here’s a rad article, actually.  natalie reed (the author) is pretty much brilliant and she’s a much better thinker/writer than i am.  <3

so, basically, there’s only one way to KNOW your gender; it feels right to you.  i wish there were some magic test (like, everyone who loves wearing fishnets and plaid flannel at the same time is non-binary!  yay!), but there totally isn’t.  either you just know your gender or you go off searching for whatever fits you the most awesomely.  i’m just going to send some more reading your way: because i choose it by zinnia jones.  if you don’t just know your gender, there’s nothing invalid about saying, “i LIKE the way this feels.  i choose THIS one!”

you also mention not wanting to alter your body.  contrary to what the gender police may tell you, you DON’T have to experience body dysphoria and want surgery/hormones in order to be trans*.  personally, i love my non-binary clit and i just laugh at people who tell me that makes me female.  i just want to stress that lotsa non-binary trans* folks and lotsa binary trans* folks feel no need to alter their bodies.  you probably already know that, but i just wanted to stress it just in case.

how did i know i was non-binary?  when i was a little kid, i knew i wasn’t a girl or a boy in the same way i knew i wasn’t a dandelion or a fork.  it isn’t always so readily apparent to other people, but it was to me.  that doesn’t make me “more trans*” than someone who thought they were cis til they hit 30 (or 40 or 85 or 90), btw, though the gender police will tell you otherwise.

but then, after a couple of years of parents and teachers and society telling me i was a girl and that gender is binary and that gender-assigned-at-birth is everything, i started doubting myself.  i convinced myself that i was a girl and i think i sorta… forgot that i’d ever thought differently.  even when i learned trans* people were real, i still doubted the existence of non-binary gender.

eventually, i discovered maddox and other online non-binary cats– and that’s what convinced me to look into the whole non-binary trans* thing.  i started reading blogs written by neutrois folks and genderqueer folks and i started thinking, “hey!  that sounds like ME!”  something resonated and began to feel more and more RIGHT as i kept reading.

i eventually remembered what i’d known as a kid; that i’m not male or female.  i made a choice to id as non-binary trans*– and it just keeps settling onto me like a shirt that fits better and more comfortably each time i wear it.

what i didn’t do was take stock of my traits and hobbies, assign each one an “f” or and “m,” and tally them up.  as i think you know, that would never work.

you wrote: “If I want to keep my physically female body, but act however the fuck I want regardless of gender, does that make me genderfuck? Does it make me non-binary? Or am I still female?”

so, i think we’ve established that your body doesn’t have anything to do with it.  that you could be any gender at all and be totally satisfied with any configuration of body parts.

as for acting however the fuck you want regardless of gender, i think you might be entangling gender and gender expression.  because really, no matter your gender (trans* or cis), you can still express that gender however you please.

and genderfuck means that you love playing with gender expression (combining a fishnets and a dress with a beard, for example), so you could be a genderfuck cis woman/girl, you could be a genderfuck (non-)binary trans* person, or you could just id as “genderfuck.” you get to name your gender however you please (and you get to change your gender id at any time).

i’m totally flattered that you thought to ask me, honestly, and i reallyreally hope i’ve helped you out a little.  i wish i could just tell you what your gender is, but i can’t.  i think reading, thinking, and writing are the best ways to figure this stuff out– and talking, of course.  my blogroll has some pretty good links, maddox at neutrois nonsense is fucking AWESOME, and the felt fedora is a must-read.  natalie reed always a lot to say about gender issues, too.  you’re always welcome to ask me more questions or to just let me know how you’re doing.  anytime you wanna chat, i’ll be up for it!

i wish you some serious awesome!

splendidly,
mx. punk <3

ps: sorry for all the tl;dr.  i’m long-winded.  lol.

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any thoughts, readers?  you cats are full of rad advice and wisdom-nuggets; you’re on!

i have a gender tag! (it’s like a name tag for my gender.)

and it looks like this:

i wear it whenever i go out in public; to work, to the grocery store, to the park, etc.  it’s pretty fucking awesome; it makes me feel honest cuz if people care to look, my gender is written right on my fucking chest.  well, actually it’s written on a white sticker stuck to my chest, but you know what i mean.

when people DO misgender me (and they always do), i can point to my gender tag.  i can say stuff like, “my pronouns are singular they/them/their.  please see my gender tag.”  i feel less like i’m hiding behind a facade of cis-ness and more like i’m just doing mx. punk.

sometimes i have rad conversations with strangers because of my gender tag.  this one time at work, a middle aged woman was like, “oh my god!  i’ve been laughing at a young person in my family for saying they were genderqueer!  i totally thought they were making it up; i’m gonna go call them right now!”  she even came back the next week to talk some more about non-binary gender and to tell me that her genderqueer family member was being taken a bit more seriously.  honestly, i had no idea my gender tag would help anyone other than me– but i’m pretty excited that one less person is being ostracized and laughed at because of my li’l old gender tag.

sometimes i have uncomfortable conversations with people because of my gender tag.  i had a customer at work invite me to their church while eying my gender tag.  they also told me drugs were bad (i’ve never even tried drugs, tbh) and that god made men and women in his image.  lulz.

sometimes my gender tag scares me.  like when i’m going someplace new or when i’m working at a wedding or a party (as opposed to when i’m working in a tiny consignment store).  i see people staring at my tag and i get nervous.  i don’t know what i’m scared of, but my heart works a little harder when i know someone’s reading my gender tag.

mostly, though, i’m really stoked about my gender tag.  it’s a rad conversation-booter and it sorta alleviates my social dysphoria.

do you experience social dysphoria and if so, how do you deal with it in the presence of strangers?  talk to me, please!

melissa harris-perry on msnbc: “being transgender in america”

i don’t usually post videos (‘k, this is my first video EVER and i had trouble posting it), but this is pretty fucking historic.  plus, they actually say “genderqueer” a couple times!  omfg!  on national tv!  watch it, peoples! signal BOOST!

ps: my exams are done, but i’m still working on a crushing project.  i’ve got lotsa post-ideas– wait for ’em!  cupcakes and dinosaurs for all!

my misogynistic, transphobic family

this is probably going to be a rant; i’m angry, i feel alienated, and i’m totally offended.  so, yeah.  no rainbows and dinosaurs today, my lovelies.

*   *   *

so i’ve been having some fascinating experiences.  not “fascinating” as in “zounds!  aroid morphogenesis sure is fascinating,” but fascinating as in “fuck!  willful ignorance sure is fascinating!”

to start with, my partner’s side of the family is fairly misogynistic.

for instance, a few of the men in the family regularly insult each other with “woman”.  you know, like, “you fucking woman!  don’t be a fucking woman!” or, “what’s wrong with you, you fucking woman?”  they pull this shit in front of their partners (women) and they pull this shit in front of their young daughter/niece.

with few exceptions (i want to emphasize that there ARE exceptions), even those family members who don’t actually exude misogyny still laugh at the jokes and act like it’s all cool.  i don’t want to go deeper into detail cuz, well, i don’t want to go trashing them all over the internet, but you get the idea, right?

i’ve also had it with the transphobia.  with my partner’s support, i came out as trans* to his side of the family (i left pansexuality out of it) a few weeks ago.  some of them have been behaving coldly towards us ever since.  not that anyone’s been RUDE to us– some of them just haven’t really been, you know, interacting with us.

and that licks, peoples.  it makes me feel rejected.  it makes me feel like an asshat for causing strife between my partner and his side of the family.  it makes me feel like i might not even be on the right planet!

the only upside to all this is that my partner’s mom and step dad have been supportive, though rather confused.  supportive though confused is pretty splendid, if you ask me.  and my fabulous partner has been supportive and NOT-confused.  so, yeah.  it’s not all atrocious.

in conclusion, i have no fucking clue if i will ever attend a family dinner again.  being around people who won’t really talk to you but who keep looking at you sideways is pretty awkward– and it becomes tortuous when seated at a table with them.

i’m starting to seriously consider whether i even want a place in my partner’s side of the family.  cuz generally, after trying and failing to educate ignorant bigots (is that a tautology?), i tell them to fucking play in microwaves.  i just don’t have time for that shit.  should family be any different?

that said, my partner had a strong connection with his family before i came out as trans*; i don’t want to ruin that.  i also don’t want to give up just yet; these people welcomed me into their family, are generally kind people, and have recently been confronted with a totally new concept (non-binary gender).

and in their defense, they don’t really know me at all.  i don’t know how to make small talk and i run away when people ask me personal questions– so all they know is that my partner and their kids think i’m cool.  so it’s not like they’re turning on someone they know and love– it’s more like they just realized that i’m even weirder than they suspected me to be.

i also care deeply for the kids; they’re my friends!  they’re family to me in ways that the grownups just aren’t.  plus, they might mature into open-minded grownups, right?

but i can’t cope with the fucking misogyny, never mind the transphobia.  i just can’t.  …or am i giving up too easily?  fuck.

*   *   *

yeah.  so what do you peoples think of all this?  i know you don’t really have enough details to give specific advice, but i could sure use some friendly support and some “i’ve been there” stories.  yeah.

reader question: how do you know your gender is non-binary?

a reader messaged me with questions– and i’m flattered.  thank you for asking!  i’m also very anxious to be helpful– and i hope other people will add their own advice in the comment section.  cuz i’m prone to talking about, say, finger paints and space ninjas instead of the topic at hand (look! a t-rex reclining in a tutu!).  so here it is:

“I’ve been struggling with my gender alot lately and I don’t know who I am anymore.  Can gender change?  If somebody thinks they’re a guy can they change their mind and realize they’re non-binary?  How do you KNOW? How did YOU know?  Thanx.”

first of all, gender can and does change.  many people experience their gender as fluid, fluctuating (ir)regularly throughout their lives.  other people experience a slow shift from one gender to another and don’t realize they’re trans* until later in life.  in other cases, someone’s understanding of their gender is dynamic even while their gender itself is relatively static.  people experience gender in many ways– and some people don’t experience gender at all.  there is no wrong way of “doing” your gender.

still think it’s silly to change your mind about your gender? refer to #3 of the gender bill of rights.  you have rights, my friend.  neat, yeah?

“How do you KNOW?  How did YOU know?”

i can only speak for myself, so i’ll tell you a bit of my own history.  i knew my gender as a toddler in the same way that most toddlers know their gender.  at first, i didn’t get that everyone around me was male or female.  i didn’t know words like “transgender” and “cisgender”.  i didn’t know about the gender binary.  but i knew i wasn’t a girl or a boy.

i slowly realized that the other kids were all girls or boys, but i was still completely open about my non-binary gender.  i still thought i wasn’t allowed in gendered bathrooms.  i still thought i wasn’t allowed to wear/do/play with “girl things” or “boy things”.  i didn’t even realize that the world considered my gender invalid until i was 8-ish years old.

my mom, my teachers, my grandparents told me to stop being silly– everyone had to be a girl or a boy.  my dad took it upon himself to teach me that women can be/do ANYTHING they want.  my elementary school teachers started making sure that i didn’t sneak off to piss outside and they escorted me into the girls’ bathroom on many occasions.

i shut up about my gender for a few years.  i tried to be a girl– not by wearing dresses and behaving in a stereotypically feminine way, but by allowing people to call me a girl, a daughter, a sister.  then i tried to be a boy.  then a girl. then a boy.

honestly, i think i sorta buried what i knew.  i spent years believing i was a girl before i started wondering if i might be a boy.  when you think about it, it’s pretty fucked up that i forgot myself so completely.  it’s no wonder i was confused, though; it’s not like society admits that trans* people exist and that nonbinary gender is a thing.

finally, i said, “fuck it!  i told all these assholes the truth when i was in preschool– why am i still trying to change for them?!”  i began to gravitate towards openness– a slow process.  i still have to come out on a regular basis.  i get misgendered every day and sometimes i have to roll with it.  but mostly, i am open about my gender and that’s fucking splendid.

my story is just one story of many; there are tons of ways to experience/understand/become open about your gender.  having known my gender as a kid DOES NOT make my gender more/less valid than anyone else’s gender.  likewise, having forgotten/buried my gender doesn’t make my gender less valid than anyone else’s gender.  i hope other readers will share their own experiences and their thoughts.  i think the most valuable answer to your question (“[h]ow do you KNOW?”) will contain numerous answers from numerous people.

so keep an eye on the comment section.  and seriously, be yourself, whoever that might be.  be open-minded/hearted and feel free to check out my blogroll; there’s good stuff there and reading is always a good thing.  i hope that helps!  and thanks again for asking stuff!