I identify as transgender non-binary and go by they/them pronouns. I guess this is the first time I’m writing this so consider this me coming out! I’ve had many failed attempts - some have made the situation worse, others I was too scared to go through with it or the response from others. I first came out to my therapist. It was really the only place I felt safe, sitting in their office. Personally, it wasn’t as simple to come out and move on, I needed to delve right into my life and understand fully how I feel and experience the world. I am relatively new to this community and only starting to be more open about it, my journey has barely begun.
I really haven’t seen my community represented in mainstream media only really until recently. Most of my childhood I didn’t relate too much to mainstream media. The one show that did capture my imagination was Doctor Who when it was revitalised in 2005. A character who can regenerate into different versions of themselves, even now transitioning biologically to a woman. As soon as I saw David Tennant walk out of those blue doors I knew, it was all going to be alright. The idea of gender being binary at all bemuses me as I don’t take that into consideration when meeting someone. Gender itself is much more fluid and the result of repressing those feelings that have dictated my life. Gender in society shouldn’t be as problematic as people make it, gender is a very personal experience and extremely different to people. All we can ask is that people can respect what we define ourselves as and be supportive. It remains difficult for me personally, as I do not fit into the binary, so meeting people and making connections can be difficult. I try to connect to like-minded people who have a level of understanding and kindness to take you in.
For most of my life I have struggled with a sense of identity and how to express it. Presenting a somewhat off-character to who I am. Battling the one that is presented to the outside world contradicting my feelings internally. The knock-on effects of this have deeply affected my life and those around me: from relationships to career paths. Sad to say more negative than positive.
Although I have formed relationships over the years, they tend to reach a point where I stagnate and struggle to maintain them. This rings true with family as well. I love my family: my mum, dad and my younger brother (also my cat, Jessie, the only one who knows the full extent of my life). However, along with friends, I have felt absent, slightly detached from “reality”. At a young age, I often escaped by entering my imagination, creating stories with whatever I had, becoming and creating different characters. I started making basic stop-start animation with Lego. I would spend a lot of time meticulously moving each figure and planning out each scene, creating my own worlds.
I did several webcam skits, as early as 5 years old, happily entertaining myself whether it was being a newscaster or weatherperson, these were just for me and I dearly treasure them. I am very lucky to have been raised in a safe house, been given a decent upbringing in an affluent area of the country and certainly of the world. I was able to “get on” living. However, for an individual experience, it was near torture. I was under pressure to excel at school and be “successful” in a certain career path. I had a clock on my head all the time. Everything I was doing was for my family.
I Practically forced myself into depression in order to get into the University of Exeter, I had cousins to compare to who were doctors with children, ones who’d reach Oxford and Cambridge. Fortunately, I managed to get out of that and return to Falmouth University, where I am much more at home. Although my life, up until recently, has been hell, I am grateful for the almost decade long experience of not being happy.
I’m in a constant state of change and flux, it is difficult to keep face and retain somewhat of a healthy ego; around people or even with myself. I haven’t had the luxury of acting as myself fully; it comes to the point where it seems almost unnatural. One of the main issues was I wasn’t really exposed to the LGBTQ+ community where I grew up, even the internet was restricted having to follow strict guidelines. Being called “gay”, “queer”, “camp” “a girl” even, was a deep fear of mine as I hadn’t really had the time nor space to develop that part of me. Now me “being gay” is a much wider term, it’s not as binary as I once thought. All in all, throwing gender out of the window. (and good riddance). This fear deterred me from many of my passions as a kid, out of fear that I would be found out and then be vindicated by others. I have a very specific memory of arriving at a taster session for Stagecoach which involves acting, dancing and singing, all the class were girls. I decided I couldn’t go through with it and said no to my mum not because I was embarrassed about being the only boy there, not really scared of that at all, but more scared of how I felt internally and I didn’t really know what that meant at the time.
Looking back, I have experienced homophobia and transphobia unbeknownst to me and anyone who knew me, who I do not blame. As the worst of it was self-inflicting and tragically could’ve been avoided. However, part of the learning is living through the pain, growing from it and relearning thought processes when it comes to how one feels; knowing that it’s real and human (being who you are). Part of the healing for me is to help others, in ways I couldn’t for myself. I’m inspired to create stories for those who need it, help representation in our media; may that be in film or TV. Helping people understand and empathize those within the LGBTQ+ community. If you’re thinking of coming out or just starting a journey of self-discovery on your own, remember it is you who is in control of your story. Your time is valuable. Never feel rushed or pressured to start anything you are not comfortable with yet. Seek those who will listen, there are more out there than you think.
I’d like to leave this on a positive. I slowly started to express myself to my family and some of my friends over Christmas. Part of it was having an in-depth conversation with my dad about a few things relating to what I was going through. He said something to me which will stay with me; for some reason, I needed to hear it from him: “Being gay is just being who you are” With that, becoming the best Christmas present I have ever received.