Keeping my Identity

One of the joys, and also pains, of knowing open-minded people, is that when you inform those people of your gender then they are more likely to accept you. The price for this acceptance, particularly for those people who don’t understand/never knew about non-binary or genderqueer etc is that they will be asking you questions. Which you should generally answer, because lets face it, at least they’re trying to learn more. And it’s way better to learn from you, rather than from a clap-trap source online.

Recently, I made friends with someone with quite a scientific mind. This means that this person is open minded, but even logical. And as most of us know, gender is not the most logical in the world, it’s a personal experience which we present and express in our own way. But I wanted to try teach this person about gender, because in this person’s field of work, chances are they would meet someone who is gender variant.

The issue is that this person has been following stereotypes. For example, if you like pink then you’re a girl, if you like wearing dresses you’re a girl. If you enjoy ties and fast cars you’re a guy. And then this person got more complicated. This person knew of women who for example: did not like pink and enjoyed playing sports, and so concluded that possibly I was more this way.

Naturally, I explained that no, my hobbies and interests don’t affect my gender, my gender is internal. Yet, this is still something which needs to be explained further.

This got me thinking about my gender and identity. If we look at the stereotypes, women and men generally perpetuate these stereotypes, and even if say, a woman enjoys sports, there’s still something feminine about her. So I started to reevaluate myself.

I evaluated my expression, my hobbies, likes and dislikes. And yes, there are some things which are effeminate, but there are others which are masculine too. However, since I am AFAB then instead of viewing these as masculine, then they merely view it as a sign of lesbianism. Which means that till this day, people still confuse sexuality and gender. And that is not a mentality which is easy to change.

In the end, I once again reached the acceptance that I am, in fact, non binary. Despite my likes and dislikes, the way I express myself, the way I walk and speak. None of that matters, cause my core is non-binary.

The rest is just me expressing myself. 

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Historic Gender Identity Law

How many of you know where Malta is?

It’s basically this gorgeous tiny little island under Sicily. Its constitution declares that it’s a Catholic State.

So why am I mentioning it today?

Cause yesterday Malta passed a law called the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC). This law is groundbreaking on a global scale. So what does this new legislation comprise of?

1. Transgender people no longer need to a) divorce, b) go through sterlisation/surgery or c) be diagnosed with a mental illness to change their gender and name legally on all their documents.

2. For babies born Intersex, parents can put an ‘X’ marker on the child’s birth certificate up to the age of 18! Yes! That means that Intersex people will no longer have to go through invasive surgeries and/or hormone treatments without their informed consent. So when the child is certain of their gender, then they can change their documents. AMAZING

3. Minors who are trans* can ALSO change their documents legally. Naturally, given their young age they would need to be seen by a board of experts, made up a psychiatrist, social worker etc. NOT to classify the child with a mental illness, but to make sure the child is aware of what it wants.

4. No employer can reject a trans* person from employment just because they are trans*. Everyone must be respected, and should this law be infringed then there would be a fine.

To make all this even better, Malta is working on an education policy for schools to become more accepting and understanding of diversity and for students.to become accepting of their peers, but also if they themselves feel that they may be trans*, then they would be given the needed support.

And another cool thing for us non-binary and genderqueer etc folk? Malta is working to get the X marker permanently on legal documents. That’s right. Should this succeed, Maltese people would no longer have to choose to become part of the binary! They can choose to just be listed with an X marker.

This stuff is so cool.

KUDOS MALTA!

Mind your language

This should come as no surprise, but language is a very strong tool. You can use to make someone feel great about themselves… or you can use it to break them. Most of the time, you may do the latter without even realising it.

This is especially true for people with gender identity disorder, also known as gender dysphoria.

Let’s take someone who was born biologically female and thus raised that way, but who does not identify as female. This person may identify as male, or non-binary or whatever. It doesn’t really matter at this point. The point is that that person’s gender identity does not correspond with the identity people keep trying shove down that person’s throat. [from here on I will use ‘she’ as a pronoun for simplicity’s sake]

And here I expect people to gasp and say, ‘I don’t do that!’ or ‘I’m very accepting!’ Well I’m sure you are. But say this person, for some reason or other, cannot be open about her identity. So instead, she tries to keep dysphoria at bay by dressing as androgynously as possible without people realising the truth about her gender.

So instead of binding, she cuts her hair short, she wears baggy pants and baggy shirts to cover up the curves she hates so much. And all is ok for a while. Until:

‘You would look so pretty in a dress!’

BAM! dysphoria. People are imagining her in a dress, she ends up imagining herself in a dress…and it’s awkward, and uncomfortable, and wrong.

She laughs it off and says ‘No, I prefer my pants’.

then:

‘Why don’t you wear make up?? You’d look so pretty!’

Again, dysphoria strikes back, and she wonders, why don’t I have facial hair? Why do people want me to wear make up? Isn’t the way I look enough?

then:

‘You should let your hair grow out, it would suit you more!’

She touches her shaved hair, and reminds herself why she doesn’t let it grow. Because long hair, flying in the wind makes her feel feminine, makes her look feminine.

You may be saying these things innocently. Maybe you *Care* about her, and you want her to look ‘pretty’. The thing is, you’re assuming that your view of what would make her attractive is the same as hers. Every time you ask her to wear a dress, or put on make up, you’re saying ‘you are not enough, the way you look is not something I like. Please change’.

You may not realise it, but every time you make a person feel inadequate, not only is that verbal bullying, but if it’s a trans* person then you’re basically triggering off dysphoria. Stop obsessing over these makeover shows, you have no right to dictate how a person looks.

So the question is, but how will I know if I’m going to cross the line ? Fair question. You’ll know if you pay attention. Is your friend always in pants? then assume that they’re not gonna wear a dress. If they want to wear a dress, then they will. They don’t need you to tell them.

Same with make up, same with skirts, same with contacts vs. glasses, same with hair length.

Unless the person comes to you for advice, don’t give it.

What is ‘Non-binary’ Anyway?

ImageWell, most people (and you were probably also raised to think this way) believe that gender is either male or female. 2 genders. Therefore, binary. However, gender is more complex than that.

First off, gender and sexuality have nothing to do with one another. Sexuality is who you would be attracted to, and gender is who you ARE. Then you also have gender expression, which is how one chooses to express their gender, this may or may not be in the traditional way. For example, I may identify as female, but I express my female-ness through strength. Note how I didn’t say ‘femininity’. Femininity and masculinity are cultural concepts. What is feminine in one culture would not be feminine in another.

Anyway, second: Gender is a spectrum. A simplified explanation of this can be found in the image above. This means that gender isn’t just black or white, male or female. There are varying degrees of ‘male’or ‘female’. And where you fall on this spectrum is your binary gender.

Some people however (including myself) do not fall anywhere on this spectrum. We feel non-binary. There isn’t really a way to explain how this feels, but just as someone may feel and identify with male, or female, I identify as non-binary. It’s what makes sense to me, and makes me feel at ease.

Non-binary is an umbrella term, with various other identities, such as third gender (a gender other than male or female).

Ultimately, your gender is your own, and it’s such a complex thing that labels will not always fit perfectly. It’s like wearing a shirt which is a size or two too big for you. It fits, you can go around with it, but you know its too loose. Still, a shirt which is too big is way better than a shirt which is way too small for you and you just feel constrained.

I’M SO EXCITED!

guys guys guys!

Guess what I found ?!

Ok you may think that this is a regular anal toy…but think again. It’s actually touch sensitive, meaning it will send vibrations to the person wearing it, and these vibrations will change intensity and duration depending on the movement. So fast movement will increase the amount of vibration.

Also, I know it says it’s an anal toy…but doesn’t mean you have to use it that way.

I think this is perfect for transmen and people who were AFAB but identify as non-binary who always desired a penis. Or for women who want to peg their partners and still feel something so they’re not mere observers.

Just go onhttp://bit.ly/1yT8qua and see what other awesome stuff they’ve got! Or search directly for the Ambrosia Vibe!

Things I learnt after being in a relationship for 3 years (and counting)

This is going to be another personal post, so please bear with me. I hope that I can impart some of the things I learnt as a nonbinary person in a relationship with a cis female.


1. Be honest, not afraid

Ok yes this is a cliche. But it’s a true one. Don’t hide your true self because you’re afraid your other half won’t understand or accept you, if they really care about you (and love you) then they’ll do their utmost to understand and accept you as you are. After all, they fell in love with you already, the least you can do is be honest about your feelings and about who you are.

2. Solve fights 

Everyone fights. Frankly, I’m pretty sure you fought with your pet once or twice, so why should a relationship be any different? When you love someone fighting will end up coming naturally. You’ll disagree on whose turn it was to wash the dishes or fold the laundry, you’ll fight because you forgot that they had a really important date planned and you were late.. again. 

The trick to a healthy relationship is what happens after the fight … how well do you solve it? Communication is key. Talk it out with each other, have a good cry, kiss and move on (but make an effort to not make the same mistake twice). If you’re just going to mope about and remain angry with your partner then you’re not really going to achieve anything (except maybe a break up).

3. Laugh

Laughter makes the world go round, it unites people in ways nothing else can. Make your partner laugh as much as possible and they’ll be fooled into thinking that you’re the best thing on this planet. So be silly, dance in the rain, sing at the top of your lungs in the middle of an empty street. These are the memories you want them to cherish.

4. Touch each other as much as possible

Not (just) in the sexual way. Hold hands, hug, kiss, touch their face often. Hugging for long periods of time will release hormones which build the feeling of trust and safety in people. So make use of this trick and get hugging!

Besides, sometimes, words will never be enough, and a touch will be what your partner really needs from you to know you’re there.

5. Family is important, but don’t dwell on it

As most people in queer relationships know, acceptance isn’t easy to come by. While our straight and cisgender counterparts rarely have an issue in the parental/familial department, it is an all-too-often issue in ours. But the thing is, family isn’t everything. Normally your family will want what’s best for you. But the thing is, what they think is best for you is just their opinion. They will see your ‘lifestyle’ as too difficult, and wonder why you can’t just be ‘normal’ and have an easier life. Thing is, life is never easy, so at least you can go through this difficult life with the person you love. 

So respect your family, but don’t let it come between you and the person you love. At the end of the day, you know what’s best for you as well.

6. Take some alone time

Ah new relationships… when you just want to spend every moment together. It’s one of the most amazing things of a new relationship. Just don’t forget yourself. You may be in a relationship, but you’re also an individual. And to be an individual you need time to reflect on yourself and grow. In other words, do your own thing.

From a relationship point of view – one of the best ways to keep a relationship from becoming stagnant is to have exciting things to talk about. If you’re both spending every second of every day together, there isn’t much you can talk about is there?

7. Do stuff together

Ok yes I just said to do stuff alone… but do stuff together as well! The best way to get to know someone is to do things with them. Do they get frustrated or bored in queues ? Do they get road rage when driving? Do they laugh at the most inappropriate moments in a play?

Knowing someone’s past is extremely important, but knowing who they are as a person is possibly the most important thing of all.

8. Meet friends and have dates

A balance between a social life and a relationship is essential. Of course it depends on the two people involved in the relationship to determine how much weight to give the social circle and how much weight to give to date time. From experience, meeting friends is a good distraction for those bad phases and it’s also a good way for you guys to laugh together. But dates are important to just be romantic and sweet and are useful to reconnect with your partner.

9. Be Romantic

Sometimes a look in your eyes is enough to tell your special someone how much  you care, but other times, an over the top romantic gesture is what you truly need. Plan a surprise for your loved one, whisk them away to another city/island/whatever for a romantic day just with each other. And when you’re on a tight budget, switch off your phone and just cuddle with each other on a sofa. Quality time without the distractions of modern day technology can really tell someone that you care about them more than checking your facebook or tumblr for the millionth time.

10. Fall in love again, day after day. 

This may come as a shock to those who probably haven’t been in a relationship for long, but you will fall out of love. Sometimes the routine and daily life will grind you down and you stop appreciating the wonderful person you have with you. Pause yourself for a second, and take the time to realise what a great partner you have, make sure to appreciate them and every little thing they do for you. Like give you the last bite of cake, or take you to your favourite restaurant even though they may not have felt like Chinese food that night.

When a relationship lasts long, it means that the people involved manage to keep falling in love with each other, most of the time, they end up falling deeper and deeper in love every single day.


And this brings a close to this overly-mushy article/advice post! It’s obviously dedicated to the love of my life, who also happens to be my fiancee.

Why heteronormativity and Cisnormativity is a thing

Ok first up, what the hell are these words?

Heteronormativity – The assumption that everyone we meet is heterosexual (straight). This can be done consciously or subconsciously. If you’re a straight female and the first thing you think when you see a handsome man is ‘I wonder if he has a girlfriend’, then you’re thinking in a heteronormative way – you think he is straight. This can be subconscious, cause let’s face it, you kinda are hope he’s striaght.

Cisnormativity – the assumption that everyone you meet is cisgender. This means that those people’s sex and gender match. Ie. Born biologically male and identifies as male as well. If you see a guy in trousers and automatically assume he’s cisgender then you cisnormative.

Ok, now I’m not saying that every time you meet someone new you have to analyse them. No way. But generally that’s what we do, we analyse people: good dressers, clean hair, neat, fashionable, voice intonation – we judge the person based on everything we can see and hear.

What we rarely seem to think is : I wonder if they identify as queer. Usually what happens is: they look like a girl, so girl; they look like a boy, so boy. When really this is all bogus. Yes, everyone would like to assume that people who are not cisgender would look it. We focus on how well they can ‘pass’ or be ‘read’. But what about people who are non-binary? therefore don’t identify as male or female? Maybe they are somewhere in the middle, or completely off the spectrum? The person may look feminine, may wear skirts, but that person is not necessarily cisgender.

So lesson 1: don’t assume people are straight or cisgender – your best friend could be homosexual or trans/queer, so can your teacher, or the person you sat next to on the bus.

Now, why is it a problem if people are heteronormative or cisnormative?

Well, a variety of reasons.

1. Don’t make coming out harder than it already is. By being assumed to be one way, people find it even harder to reveal their true selves because they feel that they are not matching the expectations of the people around them. So make it easier for the people you care about who may be desperately trying to come out to you: don’t assume.

2. It friggen hurts. As someone who isn’t ‘out’ as non-binary, it’s annoying/hurtful for me to be referred to as a female (born biologically female). Even though I dress quite androgynously, no one ever thinks that I could be queer. Instead, they automatically assume I am lesbian.. which I’m not. I’m pansexual.

3. The assumption game is always wrong. Assuming is one of the worst things we can do as people. Othello assumed he could trust Iago, he assumed his wife was cheating on him…well that didn’t end well. Romeo assumed that Juliet was dead when in reality she was passed out from that drug she took. You assumed your friend or partner meant one thing when they really said something else, and a fight ensued.

Assuming is never helpful, to anyone. If in doubt, ask. I’d rather have people ask me what I identify as, rather than take being a girl as a given.

This is the same for intersex people. Intersex means having genitals which are “intermediate between male and female”. What happens is when the baby is born, a gender is chosen for them, to quote Masters of Sex “A hole is easier than a pole”. So these children would grow up to be perceived/assumed as a particular gender, when in reality they would not identify that way. By assuming they are a particular gender you are cancelling out a part of their existence.

Lesson 2: Don’t assume – yes I know this is same as lesson 1, but seriously can’t stress it enough.