I had a lot of warning and prep. There were incidents where I saw how feminine they were. I was waiting for some kind of proclamation of a new identity. Even if there hadn't been, I was starting to see signs of gender non-conformity in general. When they told me they were officially going to come out, I encouraged them to transition into a more femme identity, but still non-binary.
They were initially hesitant, but I was relieved when they did. That said, I was scared for them, too. There's a lot of political turmoil surrounding trans people these days. Dating someone who is non-binary means having neither a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Nobody feels forced into those heteronormative roles. Nobody feels obligated to pay or hold open doors; it takes off a lot of pressure about who "has to do" what.
They treat me with such respect as a person. They don't see me a certain way and I think that's hard to find from anyone. Sam was always feminine and a lot of people thought they were gay. When I met them, I knew they were not a typical masculine person, which is why I liked them. They were very sensitive, upfront, and intuitive and asked a lot of questions.
We both had a lot of conversation about how neither one of us wanted to be treated as a "girl" or a "boy. It got easier and made more sense as they started to come out. I am not a particularly feminine woman all the time. I don't want or care to be.
I like things that aren't typically feminine; I'm very strong and authoritative, I'm very decisive and very logical, and I'm a good leader. In many heteronormative power dynamics, you, as the woman, are considered to be more submissive—you can't go out of the house wearing certain things or can't express your sexuality in certain ways. There are lots of limitations on how women and men can act in relationships. It was hard for me to connect with men who didn't want to be emotional or women who either wanted me to be "masculine" or more "feminine.
I am a sensitive person and total cry baby, so it's OK to have someone who is really comforting and gets it. Watch the Creators Project meet personal trainer-turned-performance artist Cassils, who challenges deep-seated notions about gender binaries: I've been a non-binary femme for about two years.
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I was dating somebody for three years, and we were dating for a year before I came out. It was a huge part of my coming into myself.
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My gender expression is feminine, especially appearance-wise, but I don't identify with femininity too much. Being non-binary is really freeing because I don't relate to masculinity either.
My partner was really, really supportive, which was helpful. I got to discover myself through the process of explaining my identity to someone who cared about me and their reactions were nothing but helpful and kind.
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It was cool seeing how our relationship developed after that, after I had found better context for what being in a relationship meant for me, too. It felt like I unlocked a large portion of my identity so I was better able to explore and more of a complete person and partner.
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I could define how I wanted to be and how I wanted to be treated. It's easier to have respect for one another and not fall into those misogynistic traps. In the beginning, we were a "heterosexual couple," which is hilarious to me now. It was a cool discovery process together; my former partner is now gender fluid, having come out after our relationship ended a few months ago. When I opened up the conversation about my gender, it gave them space to do that too.
When I downloaded dating apps that summer, I only selected the "men" gender option. Because of the mutual friend feature on the app, I didn't want to inadvertently out myself when talking to someone. I'd be outed. I bought and wore this hat before the election.
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I wasn't out yet, but it was a little way of being visible in the queer community. I went out with some guys from Tinder and JSwipe the Jewish version of Tinder , and then began to play with turning on the "men and women" gender setting, just to test the waters. At first, I didn't swipe right on any girls, avoiding any potential matches.
I just wanted to see who was out there. I saw queer girls proudly proclaim their sexual identity on their profiles or mark their bios with cute pride flag emojis, while I still felt hidden, like I was peering into a community I didn't really feel a part of yet. Seeing their profiles made me want to meet them, but honestly, I felt stuck.
I wanted to go out with people of all genders, but I still hadn't told almost everyone in my life I was queer. So, I toggled the "men and women" option on and off while weighing my decision on whether to come out or not. Another thing hindering me from actually matching with women on dating apps was I didn't even know what my sexuality identity was.
I mean, I knew I was attracted to girls, guys, and anyone, really. Mostly, I just felt confused, which stalled my coming out to people, which prevented me from dating whoever I wanted to date. Why can't I just be, seriously. I slowly began telling people in my life I was queer I later more identified with pansexual as a label after the election because I was afraid of Vice President Mike Pence's attitude toward the gay community.