This week I came out to several groups of friends about being androgynous, changing my name from Niamh to Naomhán, and using they/them pronouns. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive and, as a result, I feel incredible! A few months ago, I felt like my life was falling apart. Today, I’m on top of the world. In the past, I struggled to make gender fit me. I tried to be female, and it only partly fit. I tried to be male and again, some of it fit, some of it made me balk.
Being in the middle is not a popular place to be. No-one likes fence sitters. But that’s what I am. I sit on the fence, smack bang in the “middle” of gender. Female and male swirl around me in circles and I make my own little gender world that touches on masculinity and femininity without becoming either.
Part of my reason for coming out so publicly about my gender identity is to make an attempt to change the norm, to shatter the gender binary that structures the world that we live in. The binary constricts many people, gender-variant or not. The roles imposed upon women over the centuries, as well as the expectations placed upon men, have forced gender-variant people to find new spaces for themselves. In an ideal world, gender would not be black and white but all the colours of the rainbow, and non-restrictive.
Coming out as androgynous makes so much sense to me, up to the point where I’m feeling less and less the need to transition medically in any way. I’m aware that this might change, and the gender identity clinic in Belfast have been extremely supportive of me in this respect. I have an open invitation to return to the clinic at any point in the future should I change my mind about medical transition. If I do return, I’ve been assured that I will not have to repeat the whole process again, but would simply be picking up from where I left off. In three months time I have my next appointment at the gender clinic, and if I choose to do so, I can be discharged from the clinic until such time as I wish to return. The choice is entirely mine, and knowing that I have control over my own transition, should I wish to go down the medical route, is both refreshing and a relief!
For any non-binary, androgynous, genderqueer or gender-variant people wishing to access the gender identity clinic in Belfast, I advise you to ask for Dr Corry to be your therapist, as she has been 100% supportive of my non-binary status from the start. For anyone else out there who feels like they don’t fit in, know that gender-variance is real and here to stay! Some day my gender will be recognised by society, but until then I’m going to fight for my right to exist, both for myself and for others who feel the same way as me. Fuck the binary!