Every step Sam has taken in their transition has been inspired by their partner. But all along, Sam has been a little… stubborn.
I was first exposed to transgender identities when I began dating my partner. They told me that they were non-binary and used they/them pronouns and at the time I really didn’t know what that meant.
We met at the college cafeteria, where they worked. They would always come by my table and pretend to be cleaning it, all the while flirting shamelessly while I blushed and stumbled over my words. I began going to the cafeteria more and more often (despite the bad food) hoping that they were working that day. Now, we’ve been dating for a year and a half and together we have been navigating gender and transitioning.
I decided that I needed to do some research in order to better understand and support my partner. The more I read about non-binary identities, the more I began to realize that it described what I had been feeling for so long. I was immediately afraid. I was raised and living in a conservative home and I knew that my parents would never accept me. Now that I knew that I was Agender, though, I could no longer ignore the feeling inside of me that I wasn’t really living as myself.
My partner was instrumental to the start of my transition. They first suggested that I try out a binder. I was extremely stubborn and adamant that I didn’t want to. I’m not sure exactly why I was so against this. Looking back, I think I was probably afraid of the change, my parents finding out, and the reactions of everyone that I knew.
Every night after my partner mentioned it, I googled “chest binders.” Reviews, photos, sizing, everything. And every night I grew more and more serious about getting one. Eventually, I picked one out and made arrangements to have it sent to my partner’s house so my parents didn’t see it come in the mail.
I remember putting it on and looking in the mirror and beaming. My partner was so encouraging as they spent all day with me letting me try on their older more masculine clothes. It was perfect and the first real step I took in my transition.
From that point on, my partner continually asked if I wanted to try out different pronouns. I said “no” over and over again. I figured that if I continued to go by she/her, then no one could hurt me by using the wrong pronouns.
Late at night, I began googling different pronouns and their uses. Eventually, I asked my partner to begin using they/them pronouns for me. Again, I felt euphoric and happy beyond belief. Every small change made me feel more and more in line with who I knew I was.
My partner one day lent me a book by Janet Mock called “Redefining Realness” in which she talks about her experiences and transition from the time she is a child until she is a young adult. The book sat on the desk in my room for weeks on end as I stubbornly refused to read it.
I became more and more curious as time went on. I had memorized what the cover looked like and how the book felt in my hands. Eventually, I did read her book and it had a profound impact on me. I feel that I had a lot of similar experiences to Mock and I was so grateful to have the validation and support from that book.
And so this pattern continued throughout my transition. My partner would mention things that I might like, such as shopping for masculine clothes, going to a barber, top surgery, getting a name change… Every time I’ve been adamant that I don’t want to do that. And every time I would stay up all night googling and learning as much as I possible until I was sure that it was what I wanted.
My partner has been beyond important during my transition process.
They have always been supportive and loving of me. Anything that I wanted – or did not want – to do with regards to my transition was totally okay with them. They would encourage me to learn about other options, but ultimately, I knew that the choice was mine and that I would be loved no matter what I chose.
Second, they were always patient with me. I really took my time transitioning. I was afraid of changing, I was afraid of how people would treat me, and I was afraid of being “out.” It was so important to my growth that I never felt rushed into anything I was unsure of. Everyone transitions differently and at different speeds, and for me, it was extremely slow. To say that my transition process has been easy and smooth is about as far from the truth as it gets. But despite all of the hardship that has arisen from my coming out, I couldn’t be happier than I am today.
I am forever grateful for my partner who has inspired me to be authentic as I continue my journey of self-discovery.
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