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I have been robbed.
Perhaps, long, long ago, there may have been words to describe my experience. But I have been robbed of language, and my experience has been robbed of meaning.
Lacking, now, in language that applies to me, I am forced to fit into concepts too narrow for me. I can identify outside of the binary, but my identity exists only in relationship to the binary. Even the word “nonbinary” communicates what I am not, and cannot convey in any meaningful way what I am. Assigned female at birth, I am allowed to exist now in opposition to that, in relation to that, but never free from it.
Because I have been robbed of language, language has robbed me of identity. I am nonbinary – not binary, other, different.
Because I am not a woman or a man, I am allowed only an identity of rejection that has earned me rejection.
And it is rejection. No matter what identities I claim, I create, I accept, I will be defined only by my rejection – of the binary, of the title of “girl,” of the norm.
What life is this? Robbed of language, robbed of identity, robbed of the ability to accept or create or involve. Allowed only to react, reject, negate. A life of othering. A life outside. A life, robbed.
I know a thing or two already about living a life robbed of the very foundations other people can take for granted. I’m mentally ill, I’m queer, I’m disabled… I know very little about what it means to be “normal,” to be in line with what society would like for me to be. I know mostly rejection, and this reflects in my gender, as it reflects in every part of my identity. And why shouldn’t it?
The fact that I’m neuroatypical and it affects my gender doesn’t make my gender any less “real” – or any less socially constructed, or any less personal – than any other gender. Just because my brain chemistry plays a part in determining my identity doesn’t mean it isn’t still my identity, at the end of the day.
I think there’s a lot of stigma directed towards people who are neuroatypical and trans – the medical community doesn’t want us being “rash” and allowing our mental illness to “define” us.
I’ve lived with mental illness all my life. There is no hidden “normal” personality buried underneath the “crazy” one. If you take away the fact that I’m mentally ill, you’ll be left with a completely different person than the one with which you started. “Curing” my personality disorder would mean wiping my personality and starting over, and I’m not interested in doing that. I’m comfortable like this: I’m queer, I’m a good person, I’m neuroatypical, I like superheroes… This is who I am, and I refuse to feel ashamed of it.