One evening in the autumn of 2016, I was to be found in my flat, hunched over my laptop, in tears – for I had just discovered my identity. According to the Tumblr post I had just found, a “Demigirl” was “a person who, regardless of their assigned gender at birth, identifies as a woman primarily, but not completely.” This has been one of the most affirming moments of my transition, because I had found a single word that summed up the conflicting feelings I had been having for years. And the demigirl flag is really cute, too!
The idea that I’m a woman is an understanding which I came to pretty much by deduction. I’ve had a constant, unquenchable need to wear feminine clothing ever since, at the age of 14, I fell in love with a long green cargo skirt that a girl in my science class wore; my body dysphoria is aggressively binary – to the point where I cry semi-regularly because I will likely never experience pregnancy and childbirth; I find she/her pronouns and being included in groups of women incredibly affirming (in fact, I named myself in part after a girl I was at school with who was part of a clique that I desperately wanted in on); and when I imagine myself in a sexual context, I simply can’t contemplate being anything other than a lesbian.
And yet, when nonbinary folks talk about gender, I find myself thinking “Hard agree” a lot. An enby once warned me to “Beware of transitioning from one closet into another”. I don’t think anything could be a greater anathema to my transition than going stealth. I want to be flying the Five Stripes proudly when I die. Notions such as passing and assimilation just seem like cis appeasement to me (though a desire to pass is of course entirely valid on an individual level for people, as some people need to pass in order for their dysphoria to ease, or for their personal safety).
So the great power that the word “demigirl” has for me is that it explains how a can at once be not entirely binary, but not entirely nonbinary either. Delineating the gender spectrum into a three-point woman / enby / man spectrum is not subtle enough to capture my experience: I’m challenging the gender ternary.
So if you see me in Marocco’s with a lesbian group one week and a nonbinary group the next, don’t be surprised. After all, womanhood and enbiness are my two favourite flavours of gender. Why can’t I have both?