Hi, Mum. Hi, Dad. This is for you guys.
I am genderfluid.
What the hell does that mean?
It’s different for different people. Here’s the official online definition: Gender fluid is a gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. In my case, this means that sometimes I’m a girl, sometimes I’m a boy.
Surprise! There are more than 2 genders. There are two types of trans: binary and non-binary. Binary is when you’re either a trans man or a trans woman, and non-binary is when you are neither completely a man or a woman. Some of the most common non-binary genders are agender (when you do not have a gender), genderfluid (yours, truly) and demiboy/demigirl (where you feel partially like a boy or a girl, but not entirely). However, it is difficult to determine exactly how many genders there are.
So… do you still have to use ‘he’ or ‘she’ for non-binary people?
No, not at all. People choose their pronouns, obviously, but ‘they/them/theirs’ is also a common option, other than ‘she/her/hers’ and ‘he/him/his’. There are more than those 3 but you won’t see those being used often.
Okay… so do all non-binary people go by ‘they/them/theirs’ pronouns because they aren’t strictly male or female?
Not necessarily. For non-binary trans people, ‘they’ is the most common pronoun, but some people use a combination of pronouns, alternate between them or just use ‘she’ or ‘he’, too.
What are your pronouns, then?
I alternate between ‘she’ and ‘he’. When I’m a girl I go by ‘Beth’ and ‘she’ pronouns, and when I’m a boy I go by the name ‘Kurt’ and ‘he’ pronouns. Most trans people don’t use 2 names, but I’m one of the genderfluid people who does.
You sound pretty sure of yourself…
Of course I am. I’ve been out to my friends online for over a year, and the kids at my school for almost a year. My friends and everyone online calls me by ‘Kurt’ and ‘he’ when I specify that I want people to do so – I’ll always have my current name and pronouns on Twitter and Instagram, and my friends who don’t have either of those ask me face to face, or I inform them myself before I see them or during the time I’m with them.
So if you’re trans, do you want to make any changes to your body?
No. I don’t. Many trans people do, but I’m not one of those people. I can’t eliminate the possibility of wanting to in the future, but it’s highly unlikely. I feel happy as I already am – altering my appearance temporarily (e.g. choosing clothing, makeup etc.). That’s all I personally need to make myself feel valid in whatever gender I am day to day.
How does your name come into all this if ‘Kurt’ isn’t officially documented as a name you use?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure of how that’s going to work. As I haven’t come out to my parents until now (hey, guys) I don’t put both of my names on any official documents or accounts/forms they might see because previous to now, they didn’t even know I use ‘Kurt’, as it’s not my birth name. However, when I’m 18 I may want to put it into my official name somewhere (probably officially as a middle name, maybe like ‘Beth-Kurt’ but that’s less likely); but I confess, I’ve never given it too much thought, as all of that seems very far off for me.
Are you just unsure of which gender you are yet/will you change your mind/isn’t this just a ‘phase’?
No, no, and no. This is not a makeshift arrangement until I ‘decide’ whether I’m a girl or a boy. I hate to break it to you, but I don’t have to decide. I am a boy at times, and a girl at times, and you’re just going to have to deal with it. I felt restricted in one gender before I was out, and that will never change.
Why aren’t you telling people face to face instead of doing it online?
I thought Affinity was a great medium to come out on because I can reach more people in a shorter amount of time – basically, I don’t wanna explain the same thing 10 thousand times to anyone who doesn’t know. Also, Affinity has allowed me to have a voice in society in a way that nothing else before has. Another thing is that the majority of people, even a lot of young people, don’t exactly know what genderfluid is or what being trans in my case means. Obviously, that’s not their fault! I just want to clear it up for them. Anyway, I don’t know why I just answered this question, because I don’t owe anyone an explanation…
What am I supposed to do with this information?
Mum, Dad, just ask me each day ‘is it Beth or Kurt today?’ and proceed to call me by whichever name and pronouns I respond with. You do not need to do anything else (especially not tell any other family members unwarranted… then I’ll be really mad. But I’m trusting you not to).
Is whether I am this gender or not/whether this gender is valid or not up for debate?
No. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. I’m not going to ever say I’m CIS or that my gender doesn’t exist, because both of those things aren’t true. I’m not asking for your opinion… I’m telling you the facts.
Why are you coming out like this now?
I felt ready for the consequences, whatever they may be. I have a support system of a lot of friends I can proudly say I can trust, something I feel like I didn’t have until the past year (this includes in school and out of it, so support all round). I feel as if I’m independent and strong enough in who I am that even if there are some people who don’t accept me, that won’t waver. Finally, I want to do more for trans people, my people, and I can’t really do that to the full extent in which I want to do it until everyone knows that I am trans.
THE NICE BIT
I’m proud to be part of the trans community, and so should every trans person! I asked people on Instagram and Twitter to tell me, in short, why they’re proud to be trans. Here are some of their answers…
“I’m proud to be trans because I’m part of such an amazing community of people!” – Anonymous on Instagram
“I am proud to be trans because I feel like I have found out about myself in ways that CIS people can’t. I have also made a lot of friends who are also trans” – Hayden on Instagram
“I’m happy to be trans because all my life I was confused about my gender and I didn’t even know nonbinary was an option because I was never told about it, then when I discovered gender isn’t boy/girl, I felt like I knew more about myself and it’s helped me be happier with who I am” – Jackson on Twitter
“I’m proud to be trans because every trans person is so unique in their identity and it’s so good to see people like myself finally embracing who they are” – Frankie on Twitter
“I’m proud to be trans because it means I’ve accepted who I am and I can work on being happier with that and I’m badass as hell (as are all trans people)” – Eoin on Instagram
“I’m proud to be trans because I am proud to be completely myself”– Félix on Instagram
In conclusion… this is exactly the way I am. It’s not a phase or something that will pass. It isn’t what I felt like on a whim. When someone tells others they’re trans, they’ve thought about it enough to be 100% sure. And I am 100% sure. If you don’t accept me and you’re important in my life, you’ll deeply upset me – but I won’t change my mind. I’m overwhelmingly proud to be trans, and that I will never regress from that!
Thank you to Félix, Eoin, Frankie, Jackson, Hayden and the lovely anon for helping me. Also, thank you to the founder of Affinity Magazine, who allowed me to come out on such a great platform and have a voice that is heard by many. A voice that is not just heard, but listened to.