8 Things Non-Binary People Need to Know

Mxtrmeike13:

This is pretty much awesome. Well worth the read!

Originally posted on Let's Queer Things Up!:

The image features the non-binary pride flag.The non-binary pride flag, via Gender Wiki

Coming out as genderqueer and non-binary was this big, beautiful, scary thing for me. I didn’t know what exactly I was moving towards – I only sensed that I was moving in the right direction.

Navigating something as complicated as gender with just my intuition was like running through a corn maze at night. There were a lot of dead ends. There were a lot of bumps and bruises. And it was, at times, totally exhausting.

There’s so much that I wish I had known when I started transitioning that I simply wasn’t able to find. There’s a lot of validation that we all need, but fail to get.

The internet is still tripping about our existence, so there are plenty of articles about what we are and there’s lots of 101. But our lives exist beyond 101. We need something more than…

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“Passing” as Non-Binary

A follow-up from another video I did while part of a collaboration channel…which received 10,000 views!  I wanted to go more in-depths on what, if anything, it means to “pass” if you identify as non-binary.  That being said, I also wanted to share things that I do or have done to present myself as non-binary.

One Year Post-Op with Dr. Medalie (and other news)

Huzzah!

So in the most pressing news, yesterday was my ONE YEAR POST TOP SURGERY DAY!!!  If the all caps and exclamation points weren’t a clue, I’m still very excited about this.  Words really can’t describe what a blessing this surgery was for me.  But a video can!  Here’s the video I did yesterday celebrating the progress I’ve made over the past year:

In other, possibly even better news, I’m now officially a Trans Lifeline operator!  You can find their main website and contact information here, or look to the shiny new page I added up at the top of this blog.  I’ve already answered two calls and, about 2 hours later, I’m incredibly happy with my decision to volunteer.  There are so many trans people out there who need support, and considering the work I’m going to do after I get my MSW and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), I’m really just honored to have this opportunity to serve one of my communities.

Finally, I found an awesome article, “7 Ways to Lovingly Support Your Gender Non-Binary Partner” by Everyday Femininsm,  They have both a website and a blog, and check them out!  They’re pretty much awesome.

Hoping you’re all well,

-Brannen

Mental Health Musings

So I’ve been thinking lately, as I do.  I completed my first semester of grad school at the School of Social Work, and as such I feel that I’m well on my way to achieving my goal of becoming a licensed clinical social worker.  I’ve wanted to be a therapist since high school, when my father kindly informed me that, should I wish to be a writer, I should also have a(nother) job so that I can actually make a living.  So here I am, eight years later, making this dream a reality slowly but surely.

I also have a field placement at Madison’s local Clubhouse, which is a part of Clubhouse International and utilizes the Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation.  I’m a huge fan of both my placement and Clubhouse International, and I absolutely love being a student intern of sorts at my current location.  However, it’s given me the opportunity to puzzle over mental health and where, as a practitioner, I would draw a line.  What exactly separates me from the Clubhouse members I interact with twice a week for sixteen hours?  And when I’m actually an LCSW, what then?  Because in all reality, all it takes is a severe flare-up of symptoms conflated with bad circumstances and I, too, could become psychiatrically hospitalized, or be considered as having severe and persistent mental illness.

These thoughts then lead to this all-important question: how do I identify as a person with mental illness?  Do I even identify that way?  My diagnoses to date are Gender Identity Disorder (known as Gender Dysphoria in the current DSM); Major Depressive Episodes, recurrent; Dysthymia; and let’s throw in Anxiety Disorder, NOS just for kicks and giggles.  However, I’ve always approached my mental health from the standpoint of, “Well, I may have these diagnoses, but my mental health concerns aren’t as severe as [insert example here].”  And so I’ve never truly identified as someone with a mental illness.  In fact, I actively avoid using the term “mental illness” and try instead to talk about “mental health concerns”, as opposed to discussing mental health from an epidemiological framework.

So where does that place me on the spectrum of being an individual with mental illness?  A lot of the people I interact with at the Clubhouse identify as having mental illnesses and use this as a form of self-empowerment.  For more information, just look more into the history of the psychiatric survivors movement.  Individuals come to terms with their diagnoses, and can use this knowledge to help guide them in self-determination of what services from which they would benefit the most.

I’m thinking that stigma is the biggest factor in people — myself included — not wanting to identify as a person with a mental illness.  Overcoming this stigma is just one of the many civil rights movements facing the world today.  And it all starts with education and the desire to understand and accept others, regardless of who they are or where they’ve been.  Hopefully I’ll get there someday.