Gender: It's a fairly complicated topic to talk about because it's a different experience for everyone.
So, I'll talk about how it’s been for me. From the time I was really little to about the time I was eight, I was pretty much what you would expect from a little girl. I wore dresses, my hair was in pigtails, and I even had a “boyfriend,” but eventually I was changing. When I was six, I started hanging out with my best friend who was a boy. I remember hating being grouped in with the girls; I was even the only girl allowed in the older kids’ bunk bed and up in the huge pine tree! I hardly thought about gender, I just enjoyed doing the stuff I liked. I loved superheroes and pretending to have fights with other kids, having little, mini wars. Then I had two best friends, one my old and faithful guy friend, and one girl from daycare, but the girl was just like me! We even got our hair cut short at the same time in grade four!
I moved. It was crazy for me going from a 100 kid school to a 500 kid school, but I made a new best friend! He loved video games and having “fights” with cool powers! It was great. Nobody questioned why I wore boy clothes and had a boy haircut! The only tell that people even noticed was that whenever I went places, strangers (waiters, etc.) called me buddy and little guy, which I really didn't mind. One of the only times someone at my school had said something was on picture day when my mom said I had to look “nice” and one of the kids said “Wow, you actually look like a girl today!”
Next my clothes started disappearing. Slowly I had fewer and fewer articles of clothing. I had no idea what was happening till I was down to only one shirt that I liked when my sister told me that Mom was throwing out my boy clothes. I was so confused! Why would she throw out my clothes?! But, then it hit me. I wasn't exactly the “ideal daughter.” I wasn’t like my sister.
So I changed. I started growing out my hair that summer. My mom seemed happier.
I moved again, new school, longer hair, pretty clothes. I was swooped up by a popular girl in record speed. And with that I was in a trio with two other girls, and since then I’ve been informed that we were “popular.” I dated some boys; I giggled and went to gatherings, but I had also met a new friend who didn't look like my other friends. They had piercings and a half shaved head. They introduced me to new music and a new style. I still had my other friends (though they didn't like my new friend much), but alas, the school year ended and friendships faded.
Grade 7 approached, and I made a new friend. She had pretty clothes and pretty makeup. She was unfriendly, so I didn’t really think about talking to her. I ended up sitting near her, and although the first thing she said to me was a rude comment (I didn't understand was rude at the time), we became friends. It was me, her and another girl in a trio. I did a lot of their school work, but at the time I didn't care that it was cheating.
I was still friends with the person with piercings and good music taste, even though my friends would ask why I like them and say that it was weird; they called my friend weird too. But, I defended them and persevered. Drama ensued because of stolen boyfriends and rumours of drugs. Eventually it was just me and the girl with the mean words. I was at her house every day because of a scary step dad and the fear of getting screamed at the minute I entered my own house. This is when I started self harming. Terrified of home, I made a new home. Drama, drama, drama happened, but the year ended with me and my best friend moving to a new school.
Another move. Ugh. I knew so many people in this school. SO MANY! BUT, then I got placed in a class with every single grade 8 that I didn't know. Great. Despite this, I met many great friends and made an LGBT+ friend. He helped me figure out who I was. This is when I figured out I wasn't straight. I went back and forth between aromantic, lesbian, and panromantic. My gender was still an unanswered question. Eventually I realized I was nonbinary.
It sucked. I didn't have anyone using proper pronouns and names. I tried with one friend, but he go snippy every time I corrected him.
The end of the year was approaching and so was graduation. I wasn't dressing very femininely, but I still looked pretty girly. I started mentioning cutting all of my hair off, but a lot of people were against it, saying it would look bad. However, I graduated and got an award for academic achievement. I had to wear a dress but I got through it. I still wore combat boots so I didn't care.
That summer I spent completely alone. I loved it. I got my hair cut off, and after multiple attempts, I finally convinced my mom to let me buy a chest binder and I got my first pair of boy jeans! It was great! This was when I started to question whether I was actually nonbinary or a trans guy.
Grade 9 orientation came. This was around when I got pretty bad dysphoria. I had to walk around with a name tag that said a name I felt uncomfortable with, my birth name. I saw some cool people though, and guess who I ran into? Piercings friend from grade 6 was there! They had short hair and were dressed similarly to how I was dressed! I ran up to them and they reintroduced me to them with a different name, explaining that they were trans!!!! I was ectatic! We talked and walked around until they pointed at someone who I was friends with and called them cute. I dragged them to meet each other and we’ve been a group since. They’ve been my strongest support system.
There have been a few bumps along the way, but that pretty much brings us to present day! What an unending saga it has been. I use the label trans now, though, who knows.
It's been a long journey, and the end is not in the foreseeable future.