Illustrated by Nick Griffin (He/Him)
CONTENT WARNING: transphobia, internal transphobia, enbyphobia, transmedicalism
You never really liked looking at yourself in the mirror. Dressing rooms always made you uncomfortable. Bathroom mirrors were the worst.
To be fair, self-confidence wasn’t exactly your forte. You didn’t think you had the best body around. You always had concerns about your body, but today these concerns were replaced with thoughts of self-doubt.
It was nothing too fancy. A black dress with a floral print. Nonetheless, you liked wearing it. The dress fit you perfectly, like a glove. It made you feel good. Empowered, even. The dress looked nice. It made your eyes pop, it complimented your skin tone. You were definitely rocking that ‘fit. You could see yourself wearing it with some black sneakers or perhaps some cute black boots with a box heel. There were so many combinations you could think of. The possibilities were infinite, and for once, you felt good about wearing a dress.
You constantly debated with yourself on whether or not you should actually wear it. You remembered scrolling through Twitter earlier that day, seeing a post that bothered you. You weren’t one to listen to the internet, but that particular post played on your own insecurities of “not passing enough.” The post was your basic “You can’t be nonbinary if you present as ‘female’.” Something along those lines. Weren’t you just exuding female by wearing this dress?
As you stared into the mirror, thoughts of “not passing” rushed to the forefront of your brain.
The notion was silly, of course. Deep down you knew that being nonbinary doesn’t equal androgyny. Wearing a dress didn’t make you any less trans, any less nonbinary, any less you. You didn’t have to be ashamed of showing off your voluptuousness. Yet, doubt started to seep into the cracks.
What am I doing? You thought to yourself, as you stared into the mirror. Anxiety started to creep in. All of a sudden you hated this dress. It was no longer something you wanted to wear.
It reminded you all too much of what you wanted to hide. It was a reminder of the posts that seemed to have a hook on your thoughts, reeling in the anxiety of being mistaken for someone that you weren’t. This little black dress was a trap, an indication that they were right. If you wore that dress, you would be surrendering your truth of being nonbinary.
You take the dress off.
You decide to wear something simpler.
Later on, you would see a post praising Harry Styles for wearing a tutu on his promotional pictures for Saturday Night Live. He could embrace femininity and people would still see him as a man. He could wear pink and no one would really tell him that he was wrong for wearing pink.
There is a lingering feeling in your chest. An aching sadness.
Why can’t you embrace femininity as well, without being invalidated and told that you aren’t nonbinary enough? If Harry Styles can wear a tutu without his gender being questioned, why can’t you wear a dress and not be questioned about being nonbinary?
So, you make a decision. From now on, you’ll wear whatever you want. “Nonbinary” doesn’t have to be androgyny. You can embrace both femininity and masculinity. You can wear a dress. You can wear pants. At the end of the day, you’re comfortable with yourself.
Because you know that you’re nonbinary.
You look into the mirror, grinning from ear to ear as you finally wear that kick-ass dress you just bought. You do a little dance, feeling yourself as you do a twirl. It’s just your size. The color makes your eyes and your skin pop.
It was just a little black dress. Who is to decide that you’re nonbinary? Nobody can make that decision but yourself. You aren’t nonbinary because you do or don’t dress androgynously.
The same thing applies to every outfit. You can wear that kick-ass suit that your mother is so against because no matter what, you still are nonbinary, and you look amazing in anything and everything.
For the first time, you love looking into the mirror. You finally see the genuine you.
That’s what matters.
You are you. No matter how you dress.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.