Protecting Intersex, Genderqueer, and other non-binary persons' right to self identify
Hello! My name’s Ari and I use they/them pronouns. The timing of this piece is particularly special to me. On December 21st, 2016 I first spoke to some close friends about the fact that I had been struggling with my gender identity. I was hesitant, desperate to find the words to tell them who and what I truly am. My mind was swarming with self-doubt - what if this wasn’t real? What if I was faking it for attention? What if no one ever “got it”?
So much has happened since then. I came out to my family, my friends, and my various communities. I started standing up for my pronouns and insisting on their use wherever possible; they are not a “preference”, but an important aspect of how I relate to others. I began buying binders and button-downs and found myself enjoying the way I looked for the first time in my life. This summer, I found my name- or rather, it had been there all along, but now I knew it too.
There is still much to be done: decisions to make, paths to travel. I'm searching for the means to formalize my name change and update my gender accordingly on my legal papers. I am considering whether hormones or surgery will help me achieve greater peace with my body. I'm working to find pronouns that work in Hebrew; my first language has no gender-neutral form of address. There are still people who deliberately ignore my identity and pronouns- and, of course, my own apprehension never fully faded.
But the results speak for themselves. I feel more confident in myself now than ever before. People say that I'm happier, calmer, and surer of myself now than I was a year ago. The way ahead is still fraught with challenges, but with my community's support I know I will overcome. The future is full of promise and hope. One way or another, I will get there.