I’m currently on a study trip to Portugal and as you might guess, I’ve spent a lot of time with my fellow classmates. As I am much older than them (I’ve got 14 years on some of them) I have been forcing myself to try to be sociable and find some common ground with them. This has involved having the odd beer… or six with them and with alcohol comes a much freer dialogue. Last week, after a few beers my classmate worked up the courage to ask me “so… what about your sex?”. I asked him what he meant and he replied with an awkward trailing “well, on your passport it says…”. Well, you see, he was the one to represent our class when the flight tickets were purchased for everyone so he saw all of my information and, therefore, saw my stated gender as defined by the authorities is female. I explained to him that I was lesbian… I didn’t want to say female because I don’t define that way so I said I’m lesbian instead which gives the same impression because I know he was thinking in the binary and defining sexuality labels with binary gender. In any case, he had a non-reaction to it which is the best reaction you can ask for, just sort of like “cool, whatever” kind of thing. I went on to explain that I don’t mind which pronouns are used for me because I think pronouns are much more about how someone relates to you rather than how you relate to your own gender identity. I mean, I don’t go around using third person pronouns for myself, I use first person pronouns which conveniently aren’t gendered and allow me to be me. Anyways, he seemed a bit confused and I explained that most people I meet nowadays perceive me on the masculine side of the spectrum and relate to me as if I were a binary cis male and that this was completely fine with me. But on the other hand, I explained that people that have known me a long time or people I have dated often relate to me on the feminine side of the spectrum which is also completely fine with me. So again, he had a kind of non-reaction and just said “ok, cool, well I’ll just keep saying ‘he’ about you”.
It was a really positive coming out for me as I am still a newbie at coming out as genderqueer to people. I’ve had more than enough experience coming out as a homo but sexuality and gender are different things and I’m more reserved when it comes to completely exposing my gender identity. This experience has certainly added to my confidence, so a thank you to my classmate for being an open and chill person. I hope that those of you genderqueers reading this might take this as a positive coming out story and use it to empower yourself as well.