The realization that I am queer came when I got involved with my college queer collective which was just started when I joined it as an ally first. Slowly I realized that what I feel about my body and gender is not ‘normal’ and how I feel towards women is not ‘normal’ at all from what I have been taught since my childhood. Society wants you to accept what it assumes is normal and wants you to fit in that given structure and follow the norms; seeing gender in terms of binary opposition is one of them. After a lot of uncertainty and questioning, I am able to accept my queer identity. At first it was very hard to accept my identity as a trans genderqueer person and confront myself with this truth. For a long time I was in denial and was not ready to accept it for various reasons and one of them is the fear of rejection from my parents.
As a genderqueer trans person it was difficult for me to find a space which accepts the complexity of gender and gender expression. When I got involved in the queer community, I realized its diversity and how it is both liberating and limited at the same time. For me every space was limited and restricted when it came to accepting my gender queer identity, whether it is trans space or any other queer space. People expect me to look a certain way and be in a certain way so I will pass as a masculine person and I really want to just run away from what others are expecting me to be. I never wanted to fit in one structure and it is very frustrating for me when people try to limit my identity to just being a man or a woman. Even though people were ready to accept me as a trans person, but having a genderqueer identity also made people confused and ignorant towards my identity. My gender expression is fluid and I want to maintain it this way as it gives me liberty and a space to experiment how I present myself to the world.
Over time I realized that at first I was focusing more on how others see me and perceive my gender identity and my body. It made me more dysphoric and mentally and emotionally more vulnerable. I hated my body for being more feminine than masculine. I wanted the acceptance of others and wanted to be recognized as a genderqueer person. But later I realized that how I feel and how I see myself is more important than being recognized by others. This realization made me more comfortable with my body and identity. I stopped trying to look the way others expect me to and just enjoy wearing whatever I like and be how I want to be.
Now, having a non-binary space which includes people with different gender identities in Delhi has also given me the confidence to share my experience as a genderqueer person and accept it. This space taught me to accept different identities and pronouns. I learned to use ‘they’ pronoun and gender neutral terms so that I would not misgender anyone and respect the diversity and one’s choice of identity. The support of community and love from queer friends made me strong enough to accept both my trans* and gender queer identity. After going through different phases, it helped me to understand myself better and become more strong and confident to accept the changes whether it’s my name, gender or body.
Kai (they/them) is a trans genderqueer person.