Trans Is: Elliott Grace’s Story

CC image courtesy of Flickr, torbakhopper

My name is Elliott Grace, and I am a homeschool alumni.

I am Non-Binary Trans, and this is my coming out.

This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve written up to this point.

I’m afraid to come out, to share this. I’m afraid of being questioned, being rejected, being told that I don’t qualify as trans. I’m afraid that people will try to correct me, argue that this is not who I am, that I am wrong and will eventually find out they were right.

Some of my close friends already know I consider myself trans, and sometimes I explain that I use “they/them” pronouns when I’m introduced to someone. It says “trans” on my facebook profile, but you only know that if you’ve looked for it, and it doesn’t explain what that means to me.

Because I don’t know what it means.

It would be nice if there was a quiz I could take, a checklist of things that grants me permission to use the term “trans” to describe myself and my gender. I wish I could give you a straightforward and approachable description of what it means to be non-binary. I wish I could explain everything it is and is not, and educate you so you’re better equipped when someone comes out to you.

But I’m not prepared to do any of these things, so I’m just going to come out. I’m going to tell you what it’s like to be the me who is trans.

. . .

Trans is thinking it’s normal to hate being a girl, because my parents were misogynistic and openly talked about the ways girls were bad.

Trans is assuming that I didn’t want to be a girl because it sucks to be a girl in christian fundamentalism, not because I’m trans.

Trans is missing the gender roles from my childhood, because when I followed them people approved of me.

Trans is not coming out to my parents because they stopped talking to me years ago.

Trans is hating my voice, and not watching recordings of myself so that I can forget what it sounds like. Trans is knowing that If I’m reminded what I sound like, I’ll likely end up trying avoid talking altogether.

Trans is the happy and safe feeling when a partner says to me, “you’re dashing” instead of “you look pretty.”

Trans is spending a couple years trying to figure out if I’m a guy.

Trans is needing to get permission from my boss to shave my head.


Trans is a client telling me I “stole a man’s haircut” and having to play nice when I want to tell him to fuck off.

Trans is cringing when someone refers to me as “ma’am.”

Trans is feeling guilty for not appreciating passing as a woman, when so many people wish they could.

Trans is waiting to change my name at work until I change jobs because I’m afraid it will be too hard.

Trans is wishing there was a box to check besides “male” or “female” when I have to fill out a form.

Trans is crying in the bathroom at the doctor’s office because the staff chided me for putting down the “wrong” name on my paperwork even though Elliott is my legal name.

Trans is my doctor asking what’s wrong, and when I tell him he says “you don’t look like an Elliott.”

Trans is when the bank says my husband Elliott is a signer on my account.

Trans is thinking I don’t deserve to ask people to change the way they talk about me.

Trans is debating whether I want to take hormones.

Trans is dating someone that wishes their body was more like mine, and feeling like I should be more grateful.

Trans is other trans people feeling threatened when I say that I’m not a man or a woman, because it will be harder for them to convince people being trans is valid if I don’t fit in the gender binary.

Trans is wishing I had a beard so people wouldn’t think I’m trying to measure up when I wear makeup.

Trans is when I feel like I’m in drag but so many people just see a girl in a dress.

Trans is people telling me I’m a trans guy, even when I tell them I’m not.

Trans is when my mail is addressed to “Mr. Elliott Harvey.”

Trans is other trans people telling me that I don’t qualify as trans because I don’t hate my body enough. Trans is wondering if they’re right, because what I hate most about my body is being disabled.

Trans is deciding I don’t want to take hormones right now, but being afraid people will tell me I’m not trans if I’m not on hormones.

Trans is answering to Elliott and then asking to be called Grace.

Trans is when people think I’m a boy, until they hear my voice.

Trans is people asking what my real name is.

Trans is not asking people to use they/them pronouns for me, because I don’t know how to handle it if they refuse.

Trans is going on a date with someone that assumes I was born a boy, and listening to them complain about how awful people who were born girls are.

Trans is when people assume I’m a trans woman and I don’t correct them, because at least they think I’m trans.

Trans is knowing that I will never pass as non binary, that people will always try to see me as either a man or a woman.

Trans is the joy I feel when someone says they didn’t know whether I was a boy or a girl.

Trans is coming out to the internet, but still feeling unsure about coming out to friends.

Trans is me.

4 comments

  • I originally posted this as a comment on my friend’s facebook page, when they shared the article, and they suggested perhaps I could post the comment here for the author to read.

    So here goes:

    Oh, I wish I could just wrap them up in bug, safe, warm internet hugs and tell them it’s okay to be all of themselves in all their…theirness. They have every right to be just as they want to be, to live, and love, and move, and be without fear or judgement from anyone else. Nothing anyone else says invalidates any one bit of their trans identity. Not mine, not yours, not the theoretical Jane Smith next door. Just like no two people in the world of invalidate each other’s genders by having different ways of being, we all just are. And we all have a right to be.

    If Harry Potter taught us anything, it’s that nobody should have to live in closets anymore. I understand if they don’t feel safe, though. Especially maybe in these dark days. I do wish them the peace of knowing that they are enough, though. Yes. They are enough.

  • Thank you for sharing your experience as a trans person, Grace. I am ecstatic for you, and so very grateful for your trust and strength to share. It means I can better understand you, and therefore be better support for you. 💜

  • Pingback: I’m Coming Out | Elliott Grace Harvey

  • My best friend shared this link with me, said she identified very strongly with the vast majority of what you said. And I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with all this hurt, I really am. I’m sorry anyone has to hurt like this. For what it’s worth, I believe you, I believe that you are who you are, that you’re not making shit up about your gender. I’m not… I’m not an eloquent person, so just… Here, comfort and hugs and support. I give good hug.

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