My Gender and Disability Journey

Alright, so here goes my post on gender and disability.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am nonbinary. I’m also AMAB (meaning I was born male). I first started exploring my gender about 6 months ago. I’ve always been into makeup and other more traditionally feminine things. And I just felt different.

I decided on the label nonbinary because I wanted to expand my horizons beyond what was typically masculine. I hate being held to the standards of typical masculinity (can’t cry, can’t wear makeup, must be strong). I’m still masculine, but now I’m not tied to being strictly masc.

So, how does disability come into play? I feel like being disabled in the ways that I am and identifying with that didn’t necessarily align with being strictly masculine. But, being genderfluid and disabled lets me more comfortably identify with myself. To expand, some of the things that are expected of traditionally masculine people (such as having no emotion, being strong, and fighting through pain), are things that I simply cannot do with how my disabilities affect me. I can’t be expected by society to conform to those ”masc norms” because I can’t just sit back with no emotion. And I can’t fight all the time. And I can’t be strong all the time. I have to be allowed to be human. Experience the totally normal reactions to life that I do. Without judgment and worry about how the world perceived my masculinity. And I simply could not do that while being strictly male.

Pulling away from the traditionally masculine things has greatly improved my mental health. I shaved my legs for the first time about a month ago and when I tell you that I have so much gender euphoria, I’m not lying.

To anybody who’s in the same boat, know that you aren’t alone. Your feelings are valid. If you can safely, I encourage you to experiment as I did. I’m here if you have any questions or need to vent, and my DMs on Twitter (@derekischmitz) are open.

Be kind to yourself. You are valid. Thank you for reading my story!