Nonbinary Life

Trans day of visibility: what does it mean to be visible?

Trans Day of Visibility is March 31. The idea is for trans people to share our identity proudly and be visible as trans people who are part of everyone’s community. But sometimes, especially with a huge number of anti-trans bills being passed in the US and other highly anti-trans news, we feel too visible. Visible and hated. It’s an uncomfortable feeling like being accused of a crime I didn’t commit.

I don’t particularly feel like being visible as trans right now. I’d love to be visible as a reasonable person, someone who helps out their community and shares lots of cool nature facts. (check out my videos on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or shorts on Youtube!) I’d like to be visible as a human being who deserves life-saving health care. (Wouldn’t anyone?)

But I hope my story may help others. So please enjoy my story of being trans and nonbinary, on this Trans Day of Visibility.

Trans day of visibility: what does it mean to be visible?

Hi, I’m Rey, a nonbinary writer! Please subscribe for more stories and resources:

Growing up as a nonbinary child, I didn’t have the words to describe what made me different from girls my age. I did experience gender dysphoria but dissociated a lot. I think not being present, aware, and able to understand myself slowed me down a lot. Dissociation and lacking the concepts to think outside the gender binary is not just a pleasant zoned-out feeling. It feels unpleasant and like something’s missing but you can’t find out what. Like something is wrong but you can’t tell anyone it’s wrong.

I made it through high school and college by primarily thinking of myself as “one of the guys.” If that’s not a lite form of social gender transition, I don’t know what is.

I tried to compensate in my mid 20’s. I bought dresses that looked great on me. I applied more makeup. I went out dancing and twirled in my circle skirts. I enjoyed some parts of this, but it never stopped feeling like a costume. Like drag, even. I was confused when people (particularly guys) found my dress-up much more attractive than my customary t-shirts and jeans. I guess they found my ability to perform a binary gender role much more appealing than my actual self.

In my late 20’s, I read every book about being trans the public library had. Why? I just found it interesting. I was friends with trans people at this point in my life, but I didn’t think of my own gender as trans. If you asked me, I’d probably say there was something wrong with my gender, but wouldn’t be able to clarify.

I eventually came out as nonbinary to myself and my close family and friends. Or rather, I came out to myself following numerous hints and nudges from my close family and friends, who had the advantage of observing my gender-nonconforming behavior from the outside.

I came out to my work before other communities in my life, perhaps because there was a precedent in place for coming out there.

I have the privilege of being white, employed in tech, housed in a liberal metro area, and with a family who was reasonably supportive when I came out. Coming out in other circumstances can be much harder and more dangerous, particularly for queer and trans BIPOC.

During the pandemic, I started creating content online (written and video) that shared what it was like to be nonbinary. I ended up coming out online to a lot more people. I was worried about it but I actually have received some very kind feedback from people I’ve known for years.

Since coming out as nonbinary, my mental health has improved, my ability to write and market my services under my name has improved, and I am more comfortable accessing medical care and traveling. I have more confidence in my body and what I can do.

Thanks for reading my trans story. What’s yours, or what brings you here today for Trans Day of Visibility? Let me know in the comments!

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