30: Seeking Sara, Finding Alex

gray background with a blue name tag that reads "Hello my name is Alex

Looking for Seeking Sara? Don’t worry; you’re not lost. Turns out, a big part of the Seeking is discovering far more than I set out to search for.

I began Seeking Sara about a year and a half ago in April of 2018 as a place to verbalize my thoughts and feelings freely in a way that was both therapeutic to me and (hopefully) helpful to someone somewhere out there on the internet.

My blog was a place to literally Seek Sara. Who am I under all of the masking? What happens when I try to stop pretending and playing an uncomfortable role, like trying to walk in shoes ten sizes bigger than my feet?

For the most part, I’ve been extremely honest while I tackled a variety of sensitive topics from disordered eating, sensory overload, anxiety and depression, and chronic illness to interviews with my family and friends about my late diagnosis.

But there’s also been something I’ve been working through in the background, even long before I launched Seeking Sara. For about a decade now, I have been fighting my gender identity. But now, I’m ready to embrace it and come out again on this site—this time as non-binary or genderqueer.

gray background with a blue name tag that reads "Hello my name is Alex

Below is a Q&A to briefly answer some anticipated questions:

Name: Alex (gender-ambiguous)
Gender Identity: Non-binary / Genderqueer
Preferred Pronouns: they/them, but she/her is fine for now
Please don’t use: woman, lady, miss, missy, girl, etc. whenever possible.

1) What will happen to Seeking Sara?

My blog will still be here and I will still be writing! Seeking Sara is transitioning to Autistically Alex. Aside from a change in title and design, Autistically Alex will still be run by me, Alex, and the writing will stay the same. (Well, hopefully it will continue to evolve the more I write…) I will discuss more queer LGBTQIA+ topics openly, but will continue other writing like my Sensory Series, eating disorder topics, sensory overload and meltdowns, etc. as well.

2) What’s Non-binary?

Depends who you ask, but for me… I feel wildly, painfully uncomfortable (increasingly so) with being labelled a woman, lady, miss, girl, etc. But I’m also not a trans man and he/him pronouns and man, boy, mister, etc. also don’t feel right. While I am more comfortable expressing and presenting my gender expression (what I wear, how I cut my hair, etc.) toward a more masculine appearance, I’m not a trans man. I’m non-binary, as in “not on the binary” of man and woman in regards to gender identity. I sometimes fluctuate back and forth, and could be considered gender fluid as well.
Scroll down to number 6 below for links to more general information on trans/non-binary/genderqueer stuff.

3) Is that a real thing?

I can confirm that yes, yes it is. I tried for a solid decade to avoid calling myself non-binary. It was ten years of wondering what my gender identity was, wondering if I was a trans man, wondering why neither man or woman felt right, etc. When I found out non-binary is a thing, it instantly clicked, but I still fought against it for years. I’ve had to sort through a lot of internalized transphobia. Trust me. Non-binary is very much a thing and I am it. In fact, many many many cultures have/had more than two binary genders represented in their cultures. The scientific and medical communities also document and affirm the presence of more than two genders. Look it up.

4) Is singular they/them a thing?

Yes, and you use it too! If we describe someone in a mystery novel, the detective might say, “Whoever they are, they sure are smart. They covered their tracks so that no one would suspect them.” As someone who needed to learn to use they/them pronouns for other people, I totally appreciate that this can be super hard to learn to do! Even I still make mistakes. Give yourself time to get used to it.

5) How did you realize you’re non-binary?

A huge part of my journey was realizing how much I identified with a variety of media as a child and teen:

  • Disney’s Mulan, who sings Reflection
    • “Look at me…
      I will never pass for a perfect bride
      Or a perfect daughter
      Can it be I’m not meant to play this part?
      Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me?
      Why is my reflection someone I don’t know?”
  • Ranma 1/2, a comic book character whose sex changes when splashed with hot or cold water
  • Sailor Uranus, AKA Haruka, who is described as being “both male and female, possessing the strengths of both genders”, and who often presents her gender expression leaning toward the masculine side, though may be genderfluid.
  • Tamora Pierce’s “Song of the Lioness” book series where Alanna becomes Alan in order to pursue knighthood in a patriarchal world
  • The Takarazuka Revue, a real-life professional troop of elite Japanese performers who play both male and female roles in their elaborate plays and musicals

To be clear, none of these media “made” me non-binary. They were a relief to read or see because I could relate to them. And loving and/or relating to these characters doesn’t automatically make someone non-binary or gender queer!

Another huge part of my self-discovery was realizing how much I dreaded getting dressed each day when I had mostly women’s clothing in my closet, along with accompanying gender dysphoria. Performing “feminine roles” (defined by society) and being called a woman, girl, miss, etc. increasingly causes a sort of nails on a chalk board feeling inside of me.

The last huge component for my journey to self discovery and acceptance was seeing people around me be openly genderfluid and queer. At a conference, a colleague wore a suit and tie and I thought, “…I can do that??” A friend changed their pronouns to they/them and I thought, “I’m so jealous… Wait, I am? Why?” A fellow Autistic blogger was courageous enough to change their site title and pronouns and I thought, “I want that freedom too.” A friend had the courage to change their name and pronouns and I finally spoke the words aloud, “Can I do this?”

Again, these people in my life didn’t influence me to be genderqueer. They gave me the courage to be okay with being myself, and I am forever grateful.

This is a huge part of why I am coming out. Not only is being closeted incredibly painful and draining, I can’t keep silent when others may find self acceptance and courage from me being out and authentically me.

6) Where can I find more info?

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/…/…/Coming-Out-Handbook.pdf
https://www.thetrevorproject.org/trv…/trans-gender-identity/
https://transequality.org/…/understanding-non-binary-people…
https://lgbt.foundation/who-we-help/trans-people/non-binary
https://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-is-non-binary-gender

Many thanks for sticking around with me through this transition.

Autistically,

Alex

 

6 thoughts on “30: Seeking Sara, Finding Alex”

  1. Thank you! I’m raising my 11 year old autistic non binary child. I so appreciate hearing other’s experiences so that I can understand and support to the best of my ability.

    Liked by 2 people

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