I’ve Been Nonbinary As Long As I Can Remember

Looking back at my life, the signs were there.

Photo by NEOM on Unsplash

I’ve reflected on my life in the article that I link to below. However, I’m continuing the reexamination of my life prior to the realization that I am, in fact, nonbinary.

I’ve now come out to three family members as an enby. This is by far the strangest coming out I’ve experienced. It is effectively a realization of what has always been, but was not recognized. I went from man to nonbinary, but there wasn’t any big change that accompanied this realization. I was nonbinary, but I did not have the vocabulary to say so. Oh, I knew that others were nonbinary, but I did not know that I am, too.

I don’t think I’m being novel with the notion that if the world treats you as being X, then you are also likely to believe that you are X. The world treated me as neurotypical, so I thought I was neurotypical. The world treated me as monogamous, so I thought I was monogamous. I knew that I was pansexual, but I was letting the world treat me as straight. Similarly, I was nonbinary, but the world treated me as a man, so I saw myself as a man, as inadequate a label as this would prove to be.

My coming out as pansexual, and polyamorous coincided with a change in behavior regarding who I wanted to date. The realization that I am autistic was also accompanied by a desire to willfully unmask. I did unmask, and I probably appear more autistic to some people. The realization that I am an enby hasn’t led to similar behavioral changes. I accept “he” as a pronoun, and am fine with people calling me a “man,” even if this is an imperfect approximation.

Add the reality that I am nonbinary to the fact that I aim to please my partners, and this makes for a bad mix. My ex-wife wanted a man in her life, and I gave her a man. Most of the time, there were no issue with me being treated as a man… except when some feelings associated with femininity came up. It did not cause outright friction between my ex-wife and me, however.

Heck… even there, I have my doubts. I did give her some sort of man, but I never saw myself fitting the role of the prototypical man very well. I wasn’t a provider, for instance. If anything, the provider role was more or less shared at first. Then I made decisions that impacted my earning capability, in favor of her lifestyle in the country, and she became the provider. I never saw much of a problem in this, but she eventually did.

I did not realize how much I aim to please my partners until I divorced from my ex-wife. I then had a series of short-lived intimate encounters with various partners. The longest relationship I had after my 22-year marriage lasted seven months.

One aspect of this drive to please my partners is to let them be who they are. I have no desire to impose on them the gender binary. If they want to be a feminine man, have at it. If they want to be a masculine woman, have at it. If they are androgynous, fine. If they are trans, fine. If they are cis, fine. If they are nonbinary, that’s also fine. Ultimately, it is all fine.

It is also only after our divorce that I realized that I am, in fact, autistic. Guess what? My autistic characteristics correlate more with the characteristics that are typically displayed by women, rather than those displayed by men. Both in reality and in fiction, I more readily identify with the female’s manifestation of autism, than the male.

The proof is in the pudding. I just need to eat it!






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