On being a queer teen.
So, hey. I’m Theo. And as you might have read I’m a queer teen. Or with other labels a nonbinary trans teen. This means that I don’t see myself as a boy or as a girl. I don’t identify myself with the gender assigned at my birth, but also not with the other binary gender.
And before I write more now, I’ll explain some basic terms very basically:
So first there’s a difference between sex and gender.
Sex is what you are from the biological point of view.
Gender (identity) is the gender you identify yourself with, or more what your gender is, as this isn’t a choice and it’s more a lot of psychological stuff (maybe mixed with a bit if social stuff).
Part of your gender is your gender expression. This is how you dress (as example) and express your gender, so how you show yourself to this world and society.
Gender roles are what society has to say about the sex you are and how you should act.
So, to the last few terms for now cis, trans folks and the term queer / LGBTQIA+.
Cis people identify themselves with their sex and their gender assigned at birth.
Trans is an umbrella term for people who don’t identify with their gender assigned at birth, and so their gender and sex don’t align (btw never ask trans people after their sex!!), there are a lot of labels under the trans umbrella and trans is a label on its own. There are binary trans humans and nonbinary trans humans. Binary trans people are assigned with one of the binary genders at birth but identify with the other binary gender. So, if you’re assigned to the male gender at birth but identify as a female. Nonbinary trans people (or nonbinary people, depending on which labels the person prefers to use, that’s different with everyone) are assigned to one binary gender at birth as well, but identify with a gender that isn’t one of the two binary genders. Gender is a spectrum.
Most of the above terms are also covered with the term queer. Queer can be an umbrella term for all LGBTQIA+ people (again if they like to label themselves as queer if not don’t use it, so listen to the people and respect their labels), but also a label on its own. I use queer because it kinda fits me most, as I don’t fit under the gender binary and this is just like a huge umbrella term and I’m really comfortable with it.
So enough with the basic terms.
I’m a teen and I’m queer. Almost my whole life people and society tried to define what gender should mean to me. You are male/female and you should act like the stereotypical man/woman so you fit into this word. My whole life gender wasn’t for me to define, or at least I felt that way, because we never talked about any other genders than male and female, mostly in the form of cis people. We grow up in a society that’s cis- and heteronormative and as soon as there is some kind of queer representation in media, people are saying that it’s too much and that we don’t need more representation. But the thing is we need more representation. There are barely any trans or nonbinary characters. We can’t just turn the tv on and see us on tv. We have to fight for one queer character and then hope that their story isn’t screwed up (as in it is good or bad representation) or that they don’t die. We need more representation. For ourselves to see us on tv, but also for young kids to maybe see themselves or not growing up as transphobic people. And maybe also for the part where people get educated and realise that we exist and stuff. And the best thing someone said was, that if you want good representation, then be the good representation (and support your local queer, black, PoC, Jewish, Muslim, mentally ill (and everyone I forgot) pals). Be the representation and support people who are the representation and also fight for good representation.
The phases of realising that your trans/nonbinary/not cis are confusing and sometimes it’s kinda a life long journey. You ask yourself if it’s just a phase or if you’re faking it. A lot of people told me that if it’s just a phase than that’s that. Its ok. Nothing bad will happen. Gender can be fluid and finding the right label can be a long journey, so if you change labels and think it was just a phase than that’s great because it’s your journey and you’ve travelled a bit further.
Gender is ours. It’s ours to define. We can decide what it means to us and how important we make it to us. No one can tell me what gender should mean to me. They can tell me what it means to them and I’ll respect that. It might not change my meaning on gender. Gender is a social construct. Everyone thinks differently on gender and with that it’s super important to talk about it. Talk and listen. Listen to what queer people have to say. Let us talk. And we’ll let you talk and yeah, we will probably interrupt you if you say something that’s transphobic, but we don’t need more transphobia in our life.
Honestly the ultimate utopia is when we can say that “gender is over” and no one cares which names, pronouns, bathroom, clothes, make-up, etc someone uses and we just respect each other without judging, binaries or certain roles. It’s when we are not being hated by others because our gender and no one can harm us because of us being us. Utopia. And we will slowly work towards some kind of version of this, because this is also what we do. By existing resisting. With no pressure, because everyone should go their way with their own conditions and stuff.
Gender is a complicated thing. Its infinitely. It’s a hard thing if it doesn’t fit in the “norm” we are slowly trying to change. But you are not alone and not broken. There are people who love and support you and we will be there for you. And yes, we need to resist and stand up for ourselves, and there are days where it’s just too much to exist, but we are not alone in this fight. You will always be valid and respected by at least one person and maybe you don’t have that person in your life right now but you will have. Also, this sounds weirdly positive and not like me (ok to be honest the other draft was a rant that was a bit too bitter so yeah), because most days are too much and feeling fine is a myth, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to be myself and fighting for a better world. And yes, I just started my way but as my dad always said “con algo hay que empezar” (you have to start with something).
On being a queer teen.