“How do you take someone seriously when they are constantly changing identity?”
In a world like what we live in today, having people invalidate queer people is such a regular thing that we sometimes don’t recognize the little things people say and do to try to invalidate us. Sometimes the people saying and doing these things don’t even realize that they are actually harmful things to say and do.
One big thing I see on a regular basis is people saying “kids can’t know who they are enough to come out” then ironically they claim that adults who come out should have known who they were before. On top of that they use those of us who are still discovering who we are or who use multiple identities or titles, to attempt to prove we are wrong. Personally, I face that on a regular basis. People think that because I use many different terms and identities to describe myself, I don’t know who I am or that my identity has changed because I am so confused.
That brings me to three topics.
We grow and discover more about ourselves as well as other terms.
I know who I am today, I can guess who I will be in 50 years, and I know who I used to be. But as I grow older, I learn more and more about myself, which is something we all do.
When I was younger, I knew I was transgender. But, I actually thought that I was FTM. I feel like that is because I was barely aware of how binary our world was and how little I fit. I have talked before about how I always felt like I didn’t fit one or the other, but my distaste was more for being a girl than the possibility of being a boy which made me feel like I was a boy. However, as I grew older and learned more about other terms that fit me better, I realized I was actually nonbinary trans and not FTM.
Sometimes more than one term describes us.
People get so confused about this, and understandably so. Sometimes though, people fit more than one identity. If you think of an identity as a way to describe someone, then you realize there are lots of ways to describe a person. So basically, if you use an identity as an adjective you will notice how many other adjectives fit a person. Therefore sometimes multiple identity related adjectives fit us.
Example: I am transgender because my gender identity differs from my sex. Nonbinary is an identity I use to describe myself as well because I do not fit the binary; I am neither male nor female. I am also bisexual+, because I am attracted to multiple genders. I could also say I am pan for this same reason. And, because how much more male or female I feel (meaning sometimes I feel more masculine or feminine than other times) I could also identify as genderfluid.
Now, another reason I could use so many terms is because terms like bisexual, nonbinary, and trans are all umbrella identities. That means that other identities fit underneath them. To make that sound less complicated: Some identities are broad, but more defined identities fit under the broad identities.
Some of us come out as what we feel people may accept us better for.
I personally did this myself, but I also don’t think it’s the best idea either.
However some people come out as bi when they are actually gay because they feel like people would accept them more as bisexual than as gay. The reason I don’t support this is because it helps support the misconceptions of being bi (and other identities people do that with). People feel like people who are bi can’t choose or are confused. And when they watch people come out as bi then come out as gay later on, they feel it validates what they feel about bisexuals not being real.
My story: I didn’t think my boyfriend of the time would accept me as trans, so I thought coming out as genderfluid (a term that does fit me but not as much as nonbinary or agender) would make him like me more. He would think just every now and then I am more guy like. And that would be easier for him to live with. In the end it hurt me more having one toe out the door while everyone else thought I had stepped fully out. I felt like I had to fake a smile and pretend I was happy being out, even though to me I wasn’t out at all.
In conclusion, sometimes people use multiple terms, or the terms they use change with time. That doesn’t mean that they are lying (at least not always) or they don’t know who they are or that they aren’t valid. We grow, we change, and even sexuality can be fluid. So don’t try to invalidate us. Just step back and let us be us. Respect us for who we say we are.