I never know how to tell people that my favorite color is magenta. I worry about how they will react once I tell them - wonder if they will treat me any differently because of it. I hate when I have to fill out paperwork and magenta is never an option so I have to circle pink because that is what everyone expects from me. I hate when my class gets separated into favorite colors and everyone who loves blue goes to one side and those who love pink go to another but when I get thrown into a group it feels like I don’t quite belong there. And if I feel this way about magenta then how must others feel when their favorite colors are orange or green or even black?
I wish we were only talking about colors here because if we were, then this simple situation would sound ridiculous. In what world would people ever be afraid to say ‘my favorite color isn’t pink, it’s blue’ or ‘my favorite color isn’t pink or blue, it’s actually yellow’? The answer to that question would be this one if you simply replace colors with gender instead.
Gender isn’t binary - not always. No matter how much we want things to be black and white, or in this case blue and pink, it just doesn’t work out that way. The same way that there are hundreds of colors that we can see, there are hundreds of different gender identities and expressions.
It took me a long time to figure this out for myself. My whole life I was given pink clothing, dresses, dolls, told that I needed to know how to cook and clean, that I had to be pretty and skinny, and get boys to like me. There is nothing wrong with any of those things. There is nothing wrong with me for enjoying some of them and rejecting others and continuing to develop myself with or without them. But what is wrong is being limited. What is wrong is being told that since I am a girl, I must not talk or dress or like the things I do. And then when I tried to find solace in the other side of the spectrum, being male, I felt like I was not masculine enough, that I wouldn’t be able to pass as a boy and I was too afraid to try transitioning medically because I wasn’t sure if I was making the right choice. I wasn’t fully able to commit to either gender because neither of them fully expressed how I felt.
The gender binary works for a lot of people so I can’t knock it. What I can say is that it doesn’t work for everyone, including myself. When I first started questioning my gender, I realized that I didn’t want to. I wanted to be binary. I wanted to be normal. When asked the question ‘what is your gender,’ all of my friends could answer it with no hesitation and I was the only one who had to pause and steel myself before saying ‘female’. We look online or turn on our televisions or even just go outside and all we see are binary people.
So it took me a long time to finally be at this point. It has taken me years to be able to admit that I am neither male nor female. It took me years to find a word that describes me and right now that word is genderqueer. I cannot speak for everyone who identifies how I do. There is no way for me to possibly know the experiences of every non-binary person on this planet. But as for myself, I love blue and I love pink. I love to mix them together in different ways and create the most magnificent shades of magenta.