Hi friends! I hope to get back to writing regular articles soon, but in the meantime I have some events coming up that you might be interested in!

TONIGHT we have our Polyamory Panel Series session on Disability and Polyamory. This will be a fishbowl discussion to explore the dynamics of living a polyamorous life as a disabled person. From Covid, to boundaries and needs outside of the pandemic, to marriage equality, this topic is sure to have a lot of meat to chew on! Tonight, Monday April 18th at 7-8:30pm EST. Zoom link here! *this will be recorded and livestreamed*

Sunday April 24th at 2-5pm EST we have Queer^ Grief: Honoring the Beauty of Letting Go, Jam & Open Mic!

made with inShot and FlyerMaker apps

Queer^ grief is the grief we hold for having to live in a world that does not always accept, respect, or celebrate us for who we are as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. The caret (^) is for those who are additionally queer because of any other marginalized identity that is at odds with normative culture (race/ethnicity, neurodivergence, ability status, etc.).

This is a two-part event. The first 45 min will be a brave space for us to name the pain we have been carrying and find solace in one another as we share in breakout rooms. After a 15 minute break, we will be welcomed back to the space with a grounding exercise. An open format for sharing art and creative expression will follow. People will be able to share whatever form of expression their grief has produced, or that has helped them process their grief (painting/drawing, music, poetry, short story, even comedy, etc.). In this way, not only will we be able to connect over grief and set resilience down, but also be able to connect over the beauty that is free expression, that comes from that pain. More details and registration here!

*this event is free with a suggested donation of $5-35 for either segment, or $10-50 for both; registration required*

Looking forward to being in community with you!

Image description: two images are divided by a white border. On the left is an image of Jae at their high school graduation. They are wearing a floral, knee length dress with tank-top sleeps. A medal of honor hangs from their neck. They have shoulder length blonde hair, and they are smiling with a blue graduation cap atop their head. The image on the right is of Jae from this past year. They are wearing an opened black vest with no shirt underneath, black dress pants, and a black and silver medallion. Their hair is bleach blonde and cut so it’s shorter on top and shaved on the sides. They hold a smirk on their face and a mug in their right hand that reads: World’s Greatest Me.

cw: mentions su*c*de and abusive relationships

There’s a trend going around where people are posting a picture of themselves from 2012 next to a picture of themselves from this year, 2022. So, I thought it’d be a fun reflection if I did this challenge today, on my birthday.

On the left I see a child in a graduation cap. I see someone who doesn’t know who she is and is tired of faking happy all the time. Sure, I had moments when I was truly happy. But nothing seemed to fit right. Not my clothes, not my body, not my friends, not my education, not my family, nothing. In fact the only things that made sense were music, nature, and animals because I truly didn’t know myself. Things would make sense one moment, and then come crashing down the next. I often wanted to unalive myself, even though I was so excited to start a new adventure off in Michigan for college. But college brought more strife, and I couldn’t make sense of why nothing was easy. Not one thing. Everything took so much effort; I was sick all the time, people abandoned me or stabbed me in the back, work was hell, classes were hell. Again, not saying that there weren’t good moments. But overall I was a lost child in a big, scary world, without much healthy guidance, self-awareness, or boundaries. That girl there had convictions, yes, but was constantly fawning to appease those around her and making foolish decisions. She got stuck in abusive relationship after abusive relationship. She got wrapped up in who people were telling her to be, instead of unapologetically existing in her full authenticity and finding the people who empower her to do just that.

That girl on the left had a lot of self-discovery to do, and a lot of self-compassion to develop. And then 10 years passed us by.

When I look to the right, I see a human who confidently embraces all that they are. I see someone who sees the possibilities life has to offer and isn’t afraid to reach out and receive what the universe is bringing to them. I see someone who knows they are inherently the world’s greatest “them” because they are the only one who can be them. I see someone who values their unique voice, quirks and all, and values when others share theirs. I see someone who knows life is a journey of growth and constant evolution, where it’s okay to make mistakes so long as you stay accountable and choose to do better.

I am grateful for the challenges and hardships I’ve had to endure these past 10 years to get to where I am now. Without them, I wouldn’t be this compassionate for myself and others. I wouldn’t pursue my passions with the fervor that I have now. I wouldn’t be the fierce advocate that I am now. I wouldn’t have the most amazing queer, dance, disabled, kink, polyamorous, and neurodivergent communities that I have now. I wouldn’t be in the healthy, stable, life-giving relationships that I’m in now.

Finally, I know myself. I know that I am transmasc nonbinary, pansexual, polyamorous, autistic, an ADHDer, disabled, and spiritual without religion. Finally I know, accept, and love these things about myself. No, I treasure these things. And finally I know that it is no one’s right or in anyone’s power to take the knowledge of who I am from me, or cover it up with their own toxicity. These past 10 years have taught me that knowing and loving myself is just as important, if not more important, than gracefully receiving and reciprocating love from others.

So here’s to growth, love, and the inclusive, equitable, compassion-first future ahead of us. If the last decade was setting the stage, I am so ready to take to that stage now and play my part in creating this future dream. Thanks for being here for the show and playing your own part too. 💜🌈💜


To everyone who has believed in me and seen me through these last 10 years, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I truly would not be here in the form that I am now without your patience, compassion, and support. It really does take a village…


I am shamelessly posting my gofundme here for continued growth through community support. Thank you 💜

Image description: a book is laid out so that the pages are fanned out, with two pages folding into each other in the middle to form the shape of a heart.

Hey friends, I’m so excited to bring you this collaborative list of non-fiction books by LGBTQIA+ community members. It’s easier now to find works of literature that center queer narratives, by queer authors, but not as easy as it should be. That’s why Artie and I have teamed up to bring you a fresh list of fantastic queer content! I am especially thrilled to have so many works in this list that center non-binary identities. Here’s to hoping you’ll find something to relate to or learn from, or both! And be sure to visit ArtieCarden’s site for the rest of the list and their other content! (Thanks again Artie for reaching out to me to make this collab happen!) Alrighty, here we go:

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker: “Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Jules Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged. Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what’s ‘normal’ – Alfred Kinsey’s view of sexuality as a spectrum, Judith Butler’s view of gendered behaviour as a performance, the play Wicked, or moments in Casino Royale when we’re invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media. Presented in a brilliantly engaging and witty style, this is a unique portrait of the universe of queer thinking.”

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ+ Culture by Amelia Abraham: “Today, the options and freedoms on offer to LGBTQ+ people living in the West are greater than ever before. But is same-sex marriage, improved media visibility and corporate endorsement all it’s cracked up to be? At what cost does this acceptance come? And who is getting left behind, particularly in parts of the world where LGBTQ+ rights aren’t so advanced? Combining intrepid journalism with her own personal experience, in Queer Intentions, Amelia Abraham searches for the answers to these urgent challenges, as well as the broader question of what it means to be queer right now. Join her as she cries at the first same-sex marriage in Britain, loses herself in the world’s biggest drag convention in L.A., marches at Pride parades across Europe, visits both a transgender model agency and the Anti-Violence Project in New York to understand the extremes of trans life today, parties in the clubs of Turkey’s underground LGBTQ+ scene, and meets a genderless family in progressive Stockholm.”

A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt: “The youngest-ever winner of the Griffin Prize mines his personal history in a brilliant new essay collection seeking to reconcile the world he was born into with the world that could be. Drawing on intimate personal experience, A History of My Brief Body is a meditation on grief, joy, love, and sex at the intersection of indigeneity and queerness. Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. Piece by piece, Billy-Ray’s writings invite us to unpack and explore the big and broken world he inhabits every day, in all its complexity and contradiction: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it; first loves and first loves lost; sexual exploration and intimacy; the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. Eye-opening, intensely emotional, and excessively quotable, A History of My Brief Body demonstrates over and over again the power of words to both devastate and console us.”

I have to mention that this collection of essays has gutted me and hit me at my core in so many glorious ways. Such a profound read, I can’t recommend it enough. There are many poignant and punctuating one-liners too—savor them! Just be sure to be prepared for intense emotions when you start digging into it.

Uncomfortable Labels: My Life As a Gay Autistic Trans Woman by Laura Kate Dale: “In this candid, first-of-its-kind memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing, managing socially demanding situations and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, and moving on to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender and autism, and how they intersect.Charting the ups and downs of being autistic and on the LGBT spectrum with searing honesty and humour, this is an empowering, life-affirming read for anyone who’s felt they don’t fit in.”

Trans Teen Survival Guide by Owl and Fox Fisher: “Frank, friendly and funny, Trans Teen Survival Guide will leave transgender and non-binary teens informed, empowered and armed with all the tips, confidence and practical advice they need to navigate life as a trans teen. Wondering how to come out to your family and friends, what it’s like to go through cross hormonal therapy or how to put on a packer? Trans youth activists Fox and Owl have stepped in to answer everything that trans teens and their families need to know. With a focus on self-care, expression and being proud of your unique identity, the guide is packed full of invaluable advice from people who understand the realities and complexities of growing up trans. Having been there, done that, Fox and Owl are able to honestly chart the course of life as a trans teen, from potentially life-saving advice on dealing with dysphoria or depression, to hilarious real-life awkward trans stories.” 

Life Isn’t Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between by Alex Iantaffi: “Much of society’s thinking operates in a highly rigid and binary manner; something is good or bad, right or wrong, a success or a failure, and so on. Challenging this limited way of thinking, this ground-breaking book looks at how non-binary methods of thought can be applied to all aspects of life, and offer new and greater ways of understanding ourselves and how we relate to others.Using bisexual and non-binary gender experiences as a starting point, this book addresses the key issues with binary thinking regarding our relationships, bodies, emotions, wellbeing and our sense of identity and sets out a range of practices which may help us to think in more non-binary, both/and, or uncertain ways.A truly original and insightful piece, this guide encourages reflection on how we view and understand the world we live in and how we all bend, blur or break society’s binary codes.”

Nonbinary Lives – An Anthology of Intersectional Identities by Jos Twist: “What does it mean to be non-binary in the 21st Century? Our gender identity is impacted by our personal histories; the cultures, communities and countries we are born into; and the places we go and the people we meet. But the representation of contemporary non-binary identities has been limited, until now.Pushing the narrative around non-binary identities further than ever before, this powerful collection of essays represents the breadth of non-binary lives, across the boundaries of race, class, age, sexuality, faith and more.Leading non-binary people share stories of their intersecting lives; how it feels to be non-binary and neurodiverse, the challenges of being a non-binary pregnant person, what it means to be non-binary within the Quaker community, the joy of reaching gender euphoria.This thought-provoking anthology shows that there is no right or wrong way to be non-binary.”

Yes, You Are Trans Enough: My Transition from Self-Loathing to Self-Love by Mia Violet: “This is the deeply personal and witty account of growing up as the kid who never fitted in. Transgender blogger Mia Violet reflects on her life and how at 26 she came to finally realise she was ‘trans enough’ to be transgender, after years of knowing she was different but without the language to understand why. From bullying, heartache and a botched coming out attempt, through to counselling, Gender Identity Clinics and acceptance, Mia confronts the ins and outs of transitioning, using her charged personal narrative to explore the most pressing questions in the transgender debate and confront what the media has gotten wrong. An essential read for anyone who has had to fight to be themselves.” 

Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe: “In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.”

Transgressive: A Trans Woman on Gender, Feminism, and Politics by Rachel Anne Williams: “How do I know I am trans? Is trans feminism real feminism? What is there to say about trans women’s male privilege? This collection of insightful, pithy and passionately argued think pieces from a trans-feminist perspective explores issues surrounding gender, feminism and philosophy and challenges misconceptions about trans identities. The book confronts contentious debates in gender studies to alleviate ongoing tension between feminism and trans women. Split into six sections, this collection covers wider issues, as well as autobiographical experiences, designed to stimulate the reader and encourage them to actively participate.”

Trans Voices: Becoming Who You Are by Declan Henry: “Imagine what it must be like to feel you are a woman ‘trapped’ in a man’s body. Or a man ‘trapped’ in a woman’s body. And what happens if you decide to reject your birth gender and become a trans man or a trans woman? Drawing on over one hundred interviews with individuals, this book is a compilation of the voices of those who have decided to undergo transition – both male-to-female and female-to-male. The book details the diverse experiences and challenges faced by those who transition, exploring a range of topics such as hormone treatments; reassignment surgeries; coming out; sex and sexuality; physical, emotional and mental health; transphobia; discrimination; and hate crime, as well as highlighting the lives of non-binary individuals and those who cross-dress to form a wider understanding of the varied ways in which people experience gender. This powerful book is an ideal introduction to those keen to understand more about contemporary trans issues as well as those questioning their own gender identity.”

Transition Denied: Confronting the Crisis in Trans Healthcare by Jane Fae: “Trans people in the UK currently face widespread prejudice and discrimination, from how they are described in the media to the lack of healthcare support they receive. This institutional bias is illustrated by the tragic case of Synestra de Courcy, who died following neglect and rejection from the NHS, leading her to sex work to fund her transition and dangerous self-medication. Charting Syn’s life from childhood through to her untimely death aged just 23, Jane Fae exposes the gross institutional and societal discrimination trans people experience on a daily basis and its impact on the lives of trans people young and old. Promoting honest discussion and bringing these hidden issues into the light of day, this book is a must read for anyone interested in trans rights, and NHS accountability.”

Trans Power: Own Your Gender by Juno Roche: “‘All those layers of expectation that are thrust upon us; boy, masculine, femme, transgender, sexual, woman, real, are such a weight to carry round. I feel transgressive. I feel hybrid. I feel trans.’ In this radical and emotionally raw book, Juno Roche pushes the boundaries of trans representation by redefining “trans” as an identity with its own power and strength, that goes beyond the gender binary. Through intimate conversations with leading and influential figures in the trans community, such as Kate Bornstein, Travis Alabanza, Josephine Jones, Glamrou and E-J Scott, this book highlights the diversity of trans identities and experiences with regard to love, bodies, sex, race and class, and urges trans people – and the world at large – to embrace a “trans” identity as something that offers empowerment and autonomy. Powerfully written, and with humour and advice throughout, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of gender and how we identify ourselves.”

Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Autism: Voices from Across the Spectrum by Eva A. Mendes: “Bringing together a collection of narratives from those who are on the autism spectrum whilst also identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and/or asexual (LGBTQIA), this book explores the intersection of the two spectrums as well as the diverse experiences that come with it. By providing knowledge and advice based on in-depth research and personal accounts, the narratives will be immensely valuable to teenagers, adults, partners and families. The authors round these stories with a discussion of themes across narratives, and implications for the issues discussed. In the final chapter, the authors reflect on commonly asked questions from a clinical perspective, bringing in relevant research, as well as sharing best-practice tips and considerations that may be helpful for LGBTQIA and ASD teenagers and adults. These may also be used by family members and clinicians when counselling teenagers and adults on the dual spectrum. With each chapter structured around LGBTQIA and autism spectrum identities, Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism highlights the fluidity of gender identity, sexual orientation and neurodiversity and provides a space for people to share their individual experiences.”

I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities by Audre Lorde: “The internationally acclaimed author challenges homophobia as a divisive force, particularly among Black women.”

A reviewer writes: “Originally published in 1985, I Am Your Sister is a short yet insightful essay regarding the homophobia and heterosexism in Black communities and how it is used as a silencing tool to divide and further oppress Black women. This is a critical read for all feminists, anti-racists, and/or LGBTQIA advocates.”

You can read this pamphlet for free within the text I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde here. Instead of purchasing, consider donating to The Audre Lorde Project!

Spectrums: Autistic Transgender People in their Own Words by Maxfield Sparrow: “Written by autistic trans people from around the world, this vital and intimate collection of personal essays reveals the struggles and joys of living at the intersection of neurodivergence and gender diversity. Weaving memories, poems and first-person narratives together, these stories showcase experiences of coming out, college and university life, accessing healthcare, physical transition, friendships and relationships, sexuality, pregnancy, parenting, and late life self-discovery, to reveal a rich and varied tapestry of life lived on the spectrums.”

Thanks for taking a look at these great publications! Again, be sure to visit ArtieCarden’s site for the rest of the list!

Disclaimer: “on the spectrum” is generally very disliked in the autistic community, though not everyone abides by that consensus. Identity-first language is preferred, i.e. “autistic person” not “person with autism” or “they’re on the spectrum”.

Featured image description: A comic of a cartoon brain with eyes and a mouth fills the top left box. The context is Childhood. The brain says, “Why do you keep wishing you were a boy?” To the right of the brain box is a box of a person lying in bed with their eyes closed, saying, “It’s probably just crushes. I can’t be a boy.” The bottom left box has the context of the year 2021, and the brain says, “You can be a boy.” Next to this box is the last box in the comment, with the same person lying bed, their eyes wide open in a panic. The room is dark, so their eyes really stand out.

A dear friend of mine recently sent me an incredible article, full of stories about queer kids who had the opportunity to fully embrace themselves at Camp I Am (closed in 2018). I only made it past a couple of the kids’ stories before I found myself sobbing.

Why am I crying? Am I not ecstatic for these children?

It wasn’t a question of if I was happy or not for these kids. Instead, my body was recognizing my grief before my brain could figure out what was happening.

While my parents did what they thought best, and I was provided for, my upbringing wasn’t entirely supportive. That is to say, I was supported, but my parents only supported their ideal version of what they wanted me to be, and not who I actually was. In fact a lot of the time I was punished for who I was/wanted to be. After reading about how these young queer people had the opportunity to experience a piece of the world free of the bullshit—sexism, homophobia, transphobia—and had the resources to build a healthy support network to explore themselves within…something just broke down within me.

. . .I’d probably be a fully transitioned “boy” today.

While allowing children to take hormone blockers (and then hormones after puberty) as gender-affirming healthcare is relatively, to my knowledge, a newer practice (and thank the gods at all!), part of me wonders what life would have been like had I had the supportive environment I needed growing up. If external culture and internal familial life had been aligned with less judgment, more understanding, and more dismantling of the patriarchal structures society perpetuates, I’d probably be a fully transitioned “boy” today (hormone therapy, and top surgery if needed).

Socially speaking, I wanted to be a boy. Growing up I hated dolls, skirts and tights, and socializing the ways little girls do. Everyone was so cliquey, and most of them often didn’t want to play sports, get dirty playing in the woods, or include me in general (I was a weird, awkward kid). My peers always found ways to let me know that I was an outsider and did not belong. I always got along better with the boys and loved what the boys got to do, but once gendering really set it, I wasn’t always welcomed with them either.

I never cared about physicality until puberty hit. By then, I was deeply conditioned to accept that I was a girl—any attention I got from the boys was good attention, even though it felt wrong. It felt wrong because I was taught any of that was sinful, but at the same time, there was always something more that I just couldn’t put my finger on.

Another friend just today relayed the idea (from a repost on Hank Green’s TikTok) that gender is like a non-Newtonian fluid. What is a non-Newtonian fluid, you ask?

A non-Newtonian fluid is a fluid that does not follow Newton’s law of viscosity, i.e., constant viscosity independent of stress. In non-Newtonian fluids, viscosity can change when under force to either more liquid or more solid. Ketchup, for example, becomes runnier when shaken and is thus a non-Newtonian fluid.

– Wikipedia

I guess my gender is ketchup now 😂 [laugh-cry emoji].

But in all seriousness, as a child and into adulthood, I adopted “womanhood” because I was told that was my only option based on my physical sex. There was (and is) all this pressure to conform to the binary and not question why. But even as a kid I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t see its validity, as all humans are capable of so many things, men and women alike. And come to find in my late twenties, there are more options outside of (and within) the binary! Everything started to make sense once that knowledge was attained. I am a non-Newtonian liquid. Once I relieved myself of the pressure (brainwashing) of the binary, I came back to my fluid self.

Now that I understand myself to be autigender nonbinary, I can say with certainty that if I must be a human, having a penis and no breasts would suit me better than having what I was born with. I have a deep desire to look like a cis man, meaning I technically desire to be on testosterone. But there’s no chance of me seeking hormone therapy because I cannot risk losing my vocal range and tone quality. I’ve waited all my life to have the singing voice I have now, and I’m too scared of taking T because it’s almost guaranteed to change my voice. I’m also too scared of getting surgery because what if I don’t actually like the change? It’s taken me a long time to get accustomed to the sensitivity of the bits I’ve got. I don’t want to lose that now, even if I don’t like having the bits themselves. Honestly I wish I could just be bitless. No genitals or secondary sex characteristics. Just a plain human body, full of nothing but ambition and love. But all that being said, even with a “transitioned” body, I would still identify as nonbinary. I have no desire to actually be a man.

So to answer the question the title purposes, no, I am not a boy. And generally speaking I don’t have the desire to be a boy, though I do sometimes prefer the “masculine” pronouns he/him. Had things been different growing up—where people would have understood there are more than 2 genders and gender-affirming healthcare is appropriate—I’d probably have no breasts, a deeper voice, and more regular use of he/him pronouns, but I still wouldn’t be a boy. If anything I’d be a *nonbinary* boy.

In this timeline though? I’ll settle for the knowledge that I am perfectly valid the way I am, and will continue practicing self-compassion and acceptance for the things I cannot change. Oh, and get some new ink. That helps.


…Care to help with my dysphoria? Add to my “new ink” fund —> @thequeercult on Venmo and queercultcoaching@gmail.com on PayPal. Many thanks and much love 💜

This is for my fellow enbys (and those who might be questioning): You cannot appropriate being trans. Here’s a great thread/article about it; You cannot appropriate being trans. You can only activate who you are by trying labels on and exploring gender.

For the first year after I came out, I felt like “trans” didn’t apply to me. Growing up, I was conditioned to identify as a woman because I have a “female body” (in quotes, as I’ve never had my chromosomes tested). That conditioning allowed discomfort for sure, but at the time, that discomfort was in context of misogyny. I wasn’t aware that I was being denied a more fitting identity profile, I just knew that being a woman kind of sucked (and outside of it sucking, it really didn’t suit me, but I couldn’t figure out how or why yet).

A quick recap on my history: In high school, the ‘T’ in LGBTQIA+ was rather silent for me, and the other letters hadn’t really existed yet. I had yet to meet any openly trans people (that I knew of), and sexuality took precedence. I only understood myself to be an ally at the time. Then in college I understood myself to be bisexual, and only understood bisexual to mean that I liked both men and women in a trans-exclusionary kind of way (this makes me cringe the most).

sdf

Post college I was adopted into an incredible community of friends—friends who are queer, sex and kink-positive, body neutral, and so loving. This community was where “nonbinary” finally found its way to me, and my world was rocked. It’s easy to not know who you are because you don’t see yourself reflected back to you, so when it finally IS reflected, it’s really hard to ignore. The safe space I was provided to try things on for myself, combined with that reflection, is what allowed me to realign to my authentic self.

All this to say: after I came out, it took me a literal year to be comfortable with identifying as trans. Not all nonbinary people identify as trans for many reasons, and for me, it was internalized transphobia along with feeling like an imposter—”nonbinary” was newer to the mainstream, and I “hadn’t suffered” as much as others I knew in the community had, just to be who we are. Besides, I wasn’t trans enough to actually be trans anyway, as if being nonbinary was just Woman Lite™ (cringe, especially since there are AMAB and intersex enbys).

Of course as I grew into my identity thereafter, the deeper understanding I gained, the more clear it was to me that nonbinary is completely valid as its own umbrella of genders under the transgender umbrella. But in order for me to get there, I had to be patient and undo a lot of conditioning. I had to reckon with the fact I had been taught my whole life how the LGBTQIA+ community is full of delinquents who I shouldn’t be associated with, who are sinners and need Jesus. And even though intellectually I understood this to be untrue, my inner workings needed some time to reverse that brainwashing. Outwardly I was afraid of overstepping boundaries and being perceived as an imposter or appropriating culture, and inwardly I was still fighting to not want to be a “delinquent” myself—to not be like them. *still cringing*

The only stable definition of being trans is “not identifying with your assigned gender a birth,” and I think that definition includes a hell of a lot of people who currently call themselves cis and are worried about appropriating being trans.

– Cherry Blossom (@DameKraft on Twitter)

Being trans is not a culture but an identity that informs community. For this reason alone, you cannot appropriate it. I think you can absolutely misrepresent the community, like Caitlyn Jenner has recently, or do harm as an ally (un/intentionally), but you can’t appropriate being trans because you can find transgender people in different cultures all over the world, where we’ve existed since the beginning.

The House of Trans™

So if you find yourself not identifying/vibing with your assigned gender at birth (AGAB), the House of Trans is open to you.

A friend reached out last year asking about gender things, and I offered her a metaphor:

Transness is a house, open to literally anyone. If you don’t feel at home in your gender, you might want to look through the window to the House of Trans and see what’s inside. And if you’re really searching, maybe you’ll open the door, step in, and stay awhile. If you feel more at home here, then home is where you’ll stay. But if you stay awhile and find that it’s not your true home, you’re welcome to leave and come again at any point. And you don’t have to suffer to gain passage! You might have walked by on a nice stroll through town and wanted to just see what’s inside. Maybe you’ve climbed the tallest mountain to reach the house. We all come to understand our identities in our own time, and each journey has its own obstacles to overcome. Whatever obstacles you’ve traversed (or lack thereof) doesn’t make you any more or less trans, it just means it took more or less time to get here. This isn’t the Suffer Olympics™. Yes, some folk may have more privilege than others in the fact that they haven’t suffered through a lot to be comfortable with who they are or put labels on things, but that privilege does not negate who they are.

You don’t need to have gender dysphoria to be trans. And you definitely don’t have to transition (hormonally or socially) to be trans. The only thing that you need to “qualify,” whether you think it’s justified or not, is to identify as something other than your AGAB. That’s it. And that includes identifying as your AGAB along with something else, as with some nonbinary people and demiboys/girls do. Your voice is just as valid as other trans voices if that’s how you want to identify. It all comes down to personal preference.

If trans doesn’t vibe with you *only* because you feel like you’re appropriating or are an impostor, please give yourself space and time to work through that. You are not any less of who you are because you’re not the same as others. And if you decide you still don’t identify as trans even after working through *why* that might be, that’s okay! You can still be nonbinary without claiming trans for yourself! Just know that the trans community is full of people who used to feel as you might right now, dear reader. You are not alone. 💜🖤💜


Exploring gender, sexuality, or neurodiversity? Remember, everything is at your own pace. And I can help! If you’d like to talk with someone about what you’re going through, I offer consulting services on a sliding scale. Please don’t hesitate to reach out through the contact tab on the main menu. 🥰

And soon I will be offering life coaching! Stay tuned!

CW: transphobia, deadnaming, sexism, mention of sex acts, su*c*de

It’s funny to me (read: ironic and awful) how cis people can change their names all the time without so much as a second glance, and yet when trans people do it, suddenly their identity is up for debate and relationships are at stake.

“It’s not just about you, it’s about everyone around you. Calling it your deadname makes me feel like our relationship is dead because I gave you that name and cherished picking it for you.”

– paraphrasing my mom; it was not so kind the first time

Calling a deadname a deadname is NOT reflective of a trans individual’s relationship with others, but with themselves. It is selfish and entitled to make someone else’s identity about yourself.

“She’s not dead! She is a part of you!”

– Mom

Actually, no. It’s the other way around, and I really wish cis people would wake up to that truth. We’re not talking about the inner child being a part of the adult here. We’re talking about how I have always been Jaesic, just with the wrong casing and outer/inner perception. As a child, I was not a “she.” I was forced to believe that I was though.

I had to construct a box around me that was “girl” to keep who I actually was, safe. And what a bunch of crap the notion of “safety” was and is to be a girl in this world. #fuckthepatriarchy

I remember in preschool a boy was picking on me pretty harshly, and I was told that that’s because he liked me.

That’s two boards nailed together: girls take abuse from boys because that’s them showing affection.

When I was 6 years old, I started going to our Assembly of God’s youth program: Missionettes. I had zero interest in Bible readings, and learning how to be a sweet, demure female. All we did was study, and learn house keeping. I’m not kidding. The boys, however, got to learn survival skills in Rangers (it was the church’s version of Boy Scouts). I desperately wanted to be a Ranger. Not only did I get along with boys better, but my dad was one of the leaders, and I wanted to be closer to him. And how cool would it have been to learn survival things! I loved nature, and I loved camping (still do, and my dad is still very passionate about camping).

“Girls can’t be in Rangers! Enough!’ – Dad. I thought because my dad was one of the leaders, that they could make an exception, but no. I cried for days.

Plank nailed in: the house is the female’s domain, and even when you’re passionate about something, you can be denied access due to your gender.

I was 7 years old playing outside in a dress that I didn’t want to wear, and fell to the ground after spinning around some (apparently spinning around all the time was a way to stim). My legs were bent as I was lying there and my mother screeched at me to keep my legs together and keep them down.

Another plank nailed in: girls cannot be carefree and must be aware of how they present their bottom half at all times.

I was in 4th grade, and they separated the boys and girls into different rooms to teach about sex organs and bodily changes.

Another plank: girls and boys are different, and it’s taboo/shameful to talk about those differences together.

In 5th grade my grandparents took the family on a Christmas cruise. Mom forced me again to wear a dress I did not want to wear. It was too much for my senses: bright red, too tight on my torso, and had poufy short sleeves. I felt hideous on top of wanting to puke and cry from sensory overload. I was in a foul mood all night and was severely reprimanded.

Plank: good girls do what they’re told without protest; comfort is in pleasing others and nothing else.

In 6th grade, I was on the bus after staying at school late, and a high school boy started harassing me about sex acts, including fisting, which I had no conceptualization for. I just sat their mute, awkwardly nodding and smiling out of nervous habit. I was unable to get away because we were the only two on the bus and he wasn’t letting up. Instead of interrupting the conversation as he was hearing it, the bus driver (my favorite bus driver at the time) waited until I was walking down the steps to my driveway to then scold me with, “I heard what you were talking about back there. What would your mother say should I tell her?” Every bus ride thereafter was a hell of anxiety.

Plank: there is shame in being harassed, and girls have to take full accountability for others’ actions.

In 7th grade I was told I could no longer play tag football in gym with the boys.

Plank: girls can’t and shouldn’t keep up with the boys, especially in sport. We’re inferior.

8th grade: I was caught sexting an older high school boy. Instead of talking to me about sexuality and asking me if I was okay, my parents “prayed the devil out of me” and grounded me for a year. Fun fact, I was not okay. I was constantly uncomfortable with what was happening, but didn’t have the ability to make boundaries and uphold them. I thought all girls wanted this attention from boys, and I only kept up with it because I thought I was “chosen.” I hated talking like that and barely even knew what I was saying or being told. All of it felt wrong.

Plank: my body and sexuality are a sin.

9th grade: Freshman year, my boyfriend touched my genitals under a blanket at the after prom party (he was a senior). I wasn’t coerced, but I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it. At the time I was bound to Purity Culture, so I was not sexually active, and was not really interested in *touching* things yet. I asked my boyfriend later on why he needed to touch it when he knows we won’t be having sex. He replied, “I don’t know.”

Plank: Sex acts are for others’ pleasure and boundaries are negotiable.

I “wasn’t like other girls.” I liked playing in nature for hours and getting sapped by the trees, hated playing with dolls, despised skirts and stockings and anything “frilly,” got along better with “the guys,” the purple/pink combo nauseated me (still does)…

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to detract from the main message of this article. Bottom line is, the more I learned to be a “girl” against my will and understanding, the longer I stayed naïve, and the more abuse I endured—and not just abuse from “men,” but from all people around me. Because after building this box around me, and adding layer after layer, I lost sight of who I was, and I lost my voice. When you don’t know who you are, you’re susceptible to being swayed one way or another a lot of the time (at least in my experience).

Add in a lot of neurodivergence, and the masks I kept having to wear to “fit in,” then got nailed onto my box and became who I was. There was no light getting through the cracks anymore for me to witness my true self. Chronic pain only muddled things further. I had next to no tools for communicating effectively, or for emotional regulation, or for loving my mind and body. I had no tools to take the nails out of my “self-made” coffin…I wanted to die.

Since I could no longer access Jaesic, I couldn’t see me getting older. I didn’t WANT to see me getting older. Even on my happiest days, I still wanted to die. I didn’t and couldn’t feel like ME. Coming out as nonbinary two years ago, and discovering my autism since, has been a painful yet liberating process of me finding the light within and bursting out of the coffin the world insisted that I build.

“Well it seems to me that your trauma is why you reject your gender.”

Oh honey, no. Now I’m not saying trauma can’t play a role in forming identity. It absolutely can and does, as us humans do not exist in a vacuum. The point is though, even IF trauma forces that “choice,” then that individual has always had the capacity to be more than their prescribed gender, or sexuality, or job, or literally anything. Again, us humans are pretty damn complex. So instead on focusing what lived experience may have contributed to a person’s new (to you) identity, let’s just see the person for who they are in the present moment and respect how they want to be addressed. If we can do that for cis people (when they get married, go by a new nickname, change jobs, attain higher education) then we absolutely can do the same for transgender people too.

I have always been ME. It just took me longer to figure that out because I was traumatized into being a girl for the first 25 years of my life. And that right there folks is why we need to support trans youth. Trans youth are under attack for just wanting (needing) to be who they are! And they are at greater risk for depression, considering suicide, and attempting suicide than their peers when they do not have the support they need. Learn what you can do to fight against unjust legislation in the U.S. There are many organizations that have resources available to you.

The simplest thing you can do for trans people, though? LISTEN, BELIEVE, and LET LIVE.


Exploring gender or sexuality? Remember, everything is at your own pace. And I can help! If you’d like to talk with someone about what you’re going through, I offer consulting services on a sliding scale. Please don’t hesitate to reach out through the contact tab on the main menu.  🥰

And soon I will be offering life coaching! Stay tuned!

“Are transgender and nonbinary synonymous?”

Short answer, yes. Long answer, no.

Well that’s confusing, so let’s dive deeper shall we?

Transgender is an umbrella term. What’s an umbrella term?

“An umbrella term, or a hypernym, is a word or phrase used to generally, rather than specifically, describe a group of varying but identifiably related subjects.”

Alicia Sparks at infobloom.com

Under the umbrella that is “transgender” we have the gender spectrum. Cisgender people exist on the polar ends of said spectrum, outside the transgender umbrella, though even this is being reworked a little (more on this in a bit). As the photo above depicts, there are two small umbrellas underneath the larger transgender umbrella, and those are “binary” and “nonbinary.”

In the binary category, we have transgender men and women. They are under the binary umbrella because trans men and women are just that, men and women. That’s the classic binary code of gender, 1 or 0.

In the nonbinary category, we have genderfluid, genderqueer, bigender, agender, demigirl, demiboy, neutrois, and more. The more people explore what gender means to them outside of the binary, the more terms we find to be fitting. This does not lessen the validity of binary genders (cis or trans), but instead expands our understanding of what gender is at large. Gender is a spectrum, after all (and it gets less linear everyday). The one thing I will point out in disagreement with the picture above, is that genderqueer is more of a synonym for transgender than it is an identity under the nonbinary umbrella. Genderqueer is often used as its own umbrella term, describing people’s “non-normative experience with their gender,” which can encompass anyone under the transgender umbrella, binary or nonbinary. In saying this, however, one can and many do use genderqueer as a stand-alone identity, often depicting their nonbinary gender.

To me, ‘genderqueer’ represents a queering of gender, so to speak. It’s a deliberate playing with gender in a very political sense, and being provocative around gender norms to highlight the gender stereotypes of our culture.

– Laura A. Jacobs, an LGBTQ+ psychotherapist in an interview with VICE

Are Nonbinary and Transgender Interchangeable?

They can be! Because transgender begets nonbinary (as in the umbrella model), many nonbinary folx use trans and nonbinary interchangeably, myself included. But many nonbinary people do not identify as trans, and that’s okay. It all comes down to individual preferences.

I am also now learning that “nonbinary” can be used to further qualify cisgender identity as in “I am a nonbinary woman,” which is where my aside from before comes back into the conversation. Despite normative rhetoric, we CAN be multiple genders. Us humans are beautiful in our complexity! When it comes to being nonbinary, an individual who identifies as such can also identify as bigender, poly-gender, or some other multiple-gender concept that includes their assigned gender at birth (AGAB) to be at least one of those identities, as is the case for the aforementioned nonbinary woman.

Many nonbinary folks may not be bothered by their assigned gender at birth and feel like it still describes them in some way so they don’t want to fully adopt the trans label.

– a queer Facebook commenter
  • Some nonbinary people will not claim trans for themselves because of internalized transphobia (whether they realize it or not).
  • Some nonbinary people will not claim trans for themselves due to not feeling “trans enough” (which, let me be clear, if you’re gender non-conforming in identity, and you want to be a part of the trans community, you ARE trans enough).
  • Some nonbinary people will not claim trans for themselves because they still identify with their AGAB as the quote above describes. This can be conflated with demigirl/boy identities.

For me, it depends on the situation. Sometimes it’s just easier to use trans as a shorthand, as I can feel vulnerable in getting specific about my gender identity. Sometimes I use trans for the shock value, as most people misgender me. “Trans” empowers me to stand in my identity because I feel the support of the whole community behind me when I use it (not that nonbinary doesn’t do that too, but most people know what trans is, whereas not everyone knows with nonbinary is). Other times nonbinary is more fitting because I feel too vulnerable saying trans in fear of being the recipient of transphobia, as if nonbinary is less in-your-face trans? That definitely plays into my own internalized transphobia, but the fear of external transphobia is real, and this is how my brain rationalizes things in order to deal with them.

Nonbinary is under the trans umbrella because it is rejecting the binary as we traditionally know it.

– Me, in my post Nonbinary and Me

I’ll admit now that “rejecting the binary” was not the best way to phrase things. Not all nonbinary people reject the binary, as bigender people exist, as well as genderqueer/genderfluid folx who play with gender within the binary. This is only amplified more when we consider nonbinary cisgendered people. To be transgender, then, is to participate within the gender binary in untraditional, counter-normative ways, with the possibility to reject the binary altogether.

Humans are WAY too complex for us to say anything in our lives is a paradox. “We contain multitudes.”

– same queer Facebook commenter

There is so much nuance when it comes to human identity and the words we use to describe ourselves. As time progresses, we’re relearning just how expansive humanity can be. We do not fit neatly into the same few boxes! And even when we do, those boxes are often subjected to change or overlap, over time.

So are transgender and nonbinary synonymous? It all comes down to the individual at hand, so always ask before you assume!