The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
If I am being honest, transitioning socially for me has been pretty difficult as I was trying to describe it. I am going to try to highlight certain things that helped me get to the point I am at now and even the things that held me back. This means that I will cry a lot, both happy and sad tears, but I believe it is important to discuss topics like these because non-binary people exist and are not mythical creatures.
So I started this journey when I was about 14 and discovered that when my first boyfriend called me “Brass”. I loved it and insisted that he call me that and nothing else. He was super transphobic and toxic towards the idea of it, but did respect it. He did not understand why I liked to be called that, and I didn’t even understand at that time why I liked to be called that. I am from Texas, so at the time I had never been told that being non-binary was a thing. So those next few years were rough, mentally, because I knew that I wasn’t a girl but not a boy. I felt like I was somewhere in between. There were signs before that one that the people around me should’ve been clued in that I wasn’t a cis straight woman, but I was not fortunate enough to be surrounded by loving LGBTQ+ people who could inform me about this topic.
The next pivotal moment in figuring out my gender identity was moving to South Korea and learning that there were people who were not cis people and that they were extremely accepting of LGBTQ+ people. At that time, I watched one of my close friends come out as trans, and it was awesome to see the difference in how he acted when he came out. It was amazing to watch because he went from a very quiet person to an outspoken, happy person. This was really when I started to question myself and how I identified because it was difficult for me to understand. I did so much research and I still didn’t come out. However, this is when I started to figure out I wasn’t cis and that I went by they/them pronouns. I never said anything to anyone because I was afraid that I was going to be ostracized.
I then decided that if I was going to be truly who I was meant to be, that meant that I needed separation from the old people in my life who knew me as Gabby and a cis woman and new people who I could tell who I was. In other words, I got to have the chance to explore this newfound side of myself. So I came here and I got so scared that I didn’t change anything. I went by Gabby and she/her even though it made me extremely uncomfortable in my skin. In the spring semester of my freshman year, I told one of my professors that I went by Brass and they/them pronouns, and it was the best I had ever felt. After that first class, I cried because they used my pronouns and my name as Brass without ostracizing me. I was still super scared, so that was the only class I took that semester.
The next really big moment that I cried was when I had gotten a job at Bath and Body Works. One of the managers asked what I like to be called and I was hesitant. So she looked up at me and told me that whatever you want to be called is what we call you and whatever pronouns you want us to call you, we will because that is who you are and we want to respect that. I then wrote down my name and pronouns and went to go cry in the bathroom for like ten minutes because of how respected and loved I felt by her. I feel that same joy when someone uses my pronouns correctly. It always makes my day better, no matter how awful the day has been. It makes me feel seen in a way that I have never felt before.
Another event that I just have to bring up happened to me a few days ago. So, as many of you know, I am a Christian. I am very open about that. So I went to church with one of my close friends the other day, and she asked me if I wanted to be introduced as Brass or as Gabby, and I told her Brass. Then she proceeded to tell everyone about her friend, Brass. Let me tell you that when it comes to the religious side of my life, it has been hard to come out to a lot of them because, with Christianity, it is a roll of the dice whether people will respect your identity. So with that being said, that meant the literal world to me, and when I got home I proceeded to ball my eyes out. I don’t think that I have ever cried tears of joy for that long, but you know, it was a really big moment because it made me feel like I could still be a part of Christianity and myself, which I have been fighting with for months.
For now, I think that is it. I still have not come out to some of the people in my life. I am aware that after this article I probably will be, and all I have to say to that is that I love you guys. However, if you want to continue to be a part of my life, I need you to respect who I am because it took a lot of courage to be honest with myself after growing up around people who were not supportive of me.