I’m Nonbinary, and I Don’t Care if You Think I‘m a “Trans-Trender”

Phoenix Lee
4 min readJan 20, 2020


Not mine; art by this person -> https://www.deviantart.com/ciercomet

Ever since I can remember, I’ve known I was nonbinary. I talked in this video about how looking back, I had inklings of the fact that I wasn’t heterosexual since early in my childhood (I had crushes on Trini Kwan from Power Rangers and Esmeralda from the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame; I guess I’ve always been a sucker for action girls with hearts of gold), but as I only came out as nonbinary last year, I haven’t talked much about my issues with gender identity. I never felt “like other girls” growing up, but didn’t feel like one of the boys either. I went through a tomboy phase during ages 10–12, tried to be more “girly” in middle school (in an effort to avoid homophobic abuse from my peers who caught on that I was queer before I did) and went through another tomboy phase between the ages of 14 and 23. Still, throughout all of this, I never felt like I was being truly myself. Even when I came out as bisexual in my early 20’s, even knowing for sure that I wasn’t a guy, I still didn’t feel like a “woman” or “girl.”

Art by this person -> https://desertdraggon.tumblr.com/

Last year, I came out as nonbinary (specifically genderqueer) via YouTube video, as well as announced my new name. I still use she/her pronouns, as well as they/them, because those are what I still feel comfortable with. Thus far, I haven’t done much to transition; I keep one side of my head shaved while keeping the rest in its kinky, natural style, sometimes dyed. I’ll occasionally bind (which is no easy task; puberty was…too generous), I’ll wear outfits that combine masculine and feminine traits (flannels and shorts over tights, cardigans and leggings with clunky combat boots, and floral leggings with a tank top and black animal rights hoodie, for example). This is how I feel comfortable and happier.

Me, pretransition (circa 2016; age 29)

Since coming out as nonbinary, however, I’ve been confronted directly with cynicism and condescension from people who frequently antagonize LGBT folks, especially trans people. Accusations of “just wanting attention” and screams of “YOU’RE NOT NONBINARY! YOU’RE A GIRL!” are common. I try my best to not let that bother me, but I have to admit that’s not easy.

Me post-transition, roughly a month ago

I have to admit, the fact that I’ve opted to not include hormone therapy or surgery in my transition (at least not right now) occasionally gives me pangs of “imposter syndrome”; I wonder, “what if those trolls are right? What if I’m not ‘trans enough’ (whatever that means)?” The thing is, though, I know that there’s no such thing as “trans enough.” If you identify as a gender other than the one assigned to you at birth, YOU ARE TRANSGENDER. Further, “transitioning” doesn’t look the same for everyone; hell, taking hormones and/or getting surgery aren’t even an option for some trans people. Maybe it’s not us who are wrong, but the trolls who tell us we’re “attention-seeking,” “trans-trenders,” and “not enough.”

[sigh] In a perfect world, this concept would be universal…

So yes, I am nonbinary, and I am valid, despite my being an AFAB (assigned female at birth) person who maintains much of her feminine presentation and isn’t interested in including hormones in their transition. And if you think I’m just an “attention-seeking trans-trender” simply because I don’t present the way you think a trans person should present…please feel free to keep your smart-ass remarks to yourself.



Phoenix Lee

Black vegan anarchafeminist crippled queer (they/he/she). Giver of hot takes and spiller of tea.