Due to the increasing acceptance of LGBTQ+ people, we are seeing unprecedented numbers of young people coming out and being open about their sexuality and gender identity. As a community we still face many uphill battles, but I’m happy to see the increase in representation online, if not in mainstream media.
As a middle-aged person, I wish there were more people from Generation X coming out as non-binary, transgender, or genderqueer. It feels there are far fewer of us, probably because we’ve felt stuck in our binary gender roles for so long. It wasn’t easy for me to come out as genderqueer or to decide to transition (female-to-male), but when I did I was pleasantly surprised how much support I received from my friends and family.
I’ve seen the horror stories from the Millennial generation, of parents disowning their genderqueer children. I was braced to deal with the fallout of my coming out. I am lucky that I’ve not had that kind of reaction. My older family members are struggling with the concept, but they are trying very hard to be accepting.
I don’t know if I just happen to have an amazing group of family and friends, or if perhaps coming out and transitioning may get a little easier when we’re older. Not that I’m advocating that any transgender person should wait to transition until they are older. I think we each must come out and make that decision only when we’re ready to.
I do know that representation matters, and if any other Gen-Xers out there are struggling with their gender identity, I want you to know you’re not alone. There are a lot of resources out there to help you come to terms with who you are. I recommend checking out the many transgender and genderqueer people posting videos on YouTube. I found their insights very helpful in figuring out how I identify and how I wanted to proceed once I did.
After spending two years researching, I came to realize that I’m most comfortable calling myself genderqueer. I was assigned female at birth, but as a very young child I remember insisting I was a boy. It wasn’t just that I wanted to play with traditionally boy’s toys, keep my hair cut short, and not wear dresses. It went deeper than that. At my core I felt I was a boy.
As I grew older, I slowly accepted the fact that I was biologically female, and I adopted the label tomboy for myself, thinking that was the closest I’d ever come to who I thought I was. I wedged myself into the role of female as best as I could. I came to find some parts of being female suited me, while others were dissonant at best.
If I had been able to embrace my identity at a younger age, I believe I would have said I was transgender. These days genderqueer feels more right to me, seeing as I am comfortable exhibiting traits from either gender. However, having had to live as female for so long, I decided it’s finally time for the boy I always thought I was to come out and play.
I have always been gender non-conforming, and that will not change. While I’ll develop the ability to grow facial hair, I won’t give up my habit of going to the nail salon every three-weeks. I’ll just be a dude getting his nails done, and I like the idea of that.
Representation matters, and I hope I can do my small part in that effort, to help more of us have visibility and learn to be comfortable in our own skin.