And Sometimes, Gender is a Bit of a Mess

"If you think of gender as a sliding scale." below that, there is a line. At the far left is a stick figure captioned "completely male", at the far right another one captioned "completely female". In the centre sits a stick figure whose torso is a question mark, captioned "completely neutral". Between male and neutral there is a figure with clothes, short hair and glasses, with arrows pointing at the middle area of the line between male and neutral. The caption reads "I'm somewhere here!"
Let’s start out simple. Where do I see myself within the gender binary?
In blue letters: "Sometimes it feels like I can only describe myself in terms of what I'm NOT:" Below that is a conversation between two stick figures, with interlocking speech bubbles. The figure on the left has no defining features, while the one on the right is personified with short curly hair and glasses. Left: "Are you a girl?" Right: "Abso-fucking-lutely NOT!" Left: "So you're a dude!" Right: "Thanks! But no, not really." Left: "Uhm??" Right: "Yea, exactly!" Left: "Well, now I'm confused!" Right: "See! Now you get it!"
Explaining it to others sometimes seems like an exercise in futility, because I often don’t fully understand it myself.
In blue ink "People tend to give you a choice" A box. "Tick one*" Under that, two tick boxes - one labelled "MAN" the other "WOMAN". *: Read T&Cs for more information on your choice's consequences End box. "For most of my life, people ticked a box for me" A smaller box, this time just with the tick boxes. "WOMAN" is ticked in red ink. Next to it is a small stick figure holding a red pen, with a speech bubble "lemme just get that for you..." End box. "...sometimes I stand my ground" Two overlapping boxes, with the Man and Woman tick boxes again. In the first one, both boxes are ticked in blue ink. In the second one, they're left blank and a tick box is added in blue ink, saying "Non-binary". It is checked. End boxes. "But," Three small boxes. The writing is a lot smaller, nearly illegible. It is the Man/Woman/Non-binary one again, and the third box only contains the blue ticked "Non-binary" tick box, emphasised. End boxes Over increasingly indented lines, "it doesn't always work." The box, once again larger and clear. Man and Woman, unticked. The blue addition, Non-binary, is written and ticked in blue. It is crossed out in red ink.
Society is a very binary place. Sometimes, no matter how often I try to assert that I do not fit within that, my voice gets erased. The choice, given over and over again, in a hundred different ways to all non-binary people out there, is to squeeze themselves into one of two genders that it not theirs.
"When it comes to framing myself in the context of labels, I see it a bit like this:" Below that is a Venn diagram. There are two small circles some distance from each other, one titled "MAN" and another "ENBY". A much larger circle is labelled "ME". Its surface is stripey and slightly colourful, encompasses the entirety of ENBY while also containing a side sliver of the MAN circle.
This is a Venn diagram to visualise how I see myself it terms of broader identity labels. While non-binary (also known as “enby”) is something I fully identify as, it is not the full picture. There is a component of masculine gender, though I still would not say that I can identify with all aspects of being male. The representation is not solid, because there is still a degree of vagueness and fluidity to how I see myself.
A large abstract mass of colour with writing on it. At the top, text reads "Sometimes, it doesn't make sense - and that's ok." At the bottom: "sometimes, it changes." Words are scattered throughtout the colourful canvas. Demigirl, maverique, bigender, man, two-spirit, genderfluid, non-binary, questioning, demigender, agender, greygender, queer, neutrois, polygender, and woman. Lines join some of them, while others are left untouched. A bold purple line joins man, which is circled in a shakier hand, with non-binary and queer. Man is also connected to a pink line interrupted by question marks, which joins to genderfluid and agender. Genderfluid is circled in purple as well as having a pink square around it. On the side, not connected to others, demigender has a pink square around it.
Sometimes it’s a bit of a mess. While labels are really helpful, sometimes the ones that are factually more accurate are not the ones that feel right to describe yourself. And, sometimes, you don’t even know where to start.

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