TRIGGERWARNING: queer hostility
“Not being able to place myself was super stressful for me for a long time.“
This interview is about Dino and about the topic of non-binary.
Non-binary people do not assign themselves to the binary gender system. Their gender identity can be both male and female, somewhere in between, or can be completely outside these categories. For example, some people describe themselves as genderfluid* if their gender identity changes or shifts from time to time.
Unfortunately, it is not so easy in Germany to have oneself officially registered as diverse in documents and to carry this gender identity also vis-à-vis the state, authorities or in the identity card, due to the currently existing Transsexuellengesetz. The planned Selbstbestimmungsgesetz aims to improve the living situation of trans* and intersex people and recognise gender diversity. Dino, too, would like to have Dinos name and gender officially changed when the Selbstbestimmungsgesetz is recognised and published.
In doing so, Dino does not want to have surgery, although Dino often feels uncomfortable in Dinos own body. But here too, Dino has found alternatives, such as binders and trans tape. A binder is a very tight-fitting top used by trans and non-binary people to conceal their breasts as flat. Trans tape has a similar function to the binder and is a good alternative to it. It is a roll of tape made of hypoallergenic material that smooths the upper body by holding it over the ribs. As you can see, there are some alternatives for people who don’t want to have surgery or can’t for health reasons.
Now that we have explained the most important terms, you can read the entire interview with Dino.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m Dino, 24, and I’m currently studying and living in Ilmenau. I’m from Halle and I’m a video and photographer.
How do you define your gender and which pronouns do you use?
I define myself as non-binary. I don’t feel like a woman or a man. I don’t use pronouns, only my name.
How long did it take you to find yourself and your identity?
It took a long time and cost me a lot of nerves. The first time I consciously thought about not feeling like a woman was around 15. At first I thought I was trans because I knew some people around me who had just come out and I wasn’t aware that there was more than just the binary gender system.
It wasn’t until I was 18 that I really understood that I didn’t have to define myself as a man or a woman. But I was still unsure how to define myself, because there are also many terms in the non-binary spectrum. In the beginning I always said I was non-binary genderfluid. That means that the gender changes back and forth and sometimes you feel more like a woman and sometimes more like a man. But I think I only said that because I thought people would understand that more than if I said I just felt like neither. It was very important for me to have a term to define myself with, because otherwise I didn’t feel like I could find myself. When I was 16 or 17 and people asked me how I define myself and what pronouns I use, I never knew how to answer and said something like ‘I don’t know, maybe I’m trans, but I don’t know yet and I don’t have any pronouns either’. Not being able to categorise myself was super stressful for me for a long time.
At some point I realised that I simply felt completely neither a woman nor a man. At that point, social media also helped me a lot. The topic became more and more present and more people came out as non-binary. At that point, I didn’t care if people addressed me as she/woman or he/mister. I don’t anymore. I feel uncomfortable with both and only want to be addressed as Dino.
Do you have support from family/friends?
With my family, I have only come out to my sister so far. It took me a relatively long time to come out, but I still don’t know why. She is very open and supportive. The rest of my family still calls me by my birth name, which makes me uncomfortable, especially in public.
Most of my friends are very supportive, but a few find it difficult to gender or don’t really want to try. This is then often very tiring, especially when everyone actually knows that I only want to be addressed as Dino.
How do you feel when you are misgendered and when people say your Dead Name?
It always feels like shit. Mostly not just because I’m uncomfortable with being addressed wrongly, but also because I’m sad that a lot of people don’t really try. When people say my birth name or it’s written anywhere, I feel very uncomfortable. It’s just not me.
But if the person corrects themselves and shows me that they are trying, I am very happy about that.
Do you want to change your name or have surgery?
As soon as the Selbstbestimmungsgesetz comes into force, I will definitely change my name and my gender. I don’t think I will have surgery or take testosterone. I’ve often thought about it, but the risks are too great. One big issue is my breasts. I like them, but I hate it when they show. It’s always annoying in the summer because I don’t wear bras under my T-shirt. As a result, my posture has deteriorated a lot in the course of my life. I always push my shoulders forward a lot and pull my T-shirt forward so that people don’t see my breasts so much. At some point I tried binders and trans-tape. But I quickly feel constricted in the chest, so I only use them in rare cases.
In what everyday situations do you notice that non-binary people are not recognised enough by society?
I notice that in many situations. First of all, many people lack understanding because they can’t understand that you can’t assign yourself to one gender. For most people it is normal to feel completely male or completely female and then they cannot understand how it is supposed to work not to feel that way. A big issue is toilets. I’ve had short hair since I was 14 and my passing is more like that of a boy. I used to get approached a lot in the women’s toilet about what I was doing here. When I’m out on my own, I usually go to the men’s toilet. If there are people I know, I sometimes go to the women’s toilet because then I feel safer from stupid comments.
Have you been discriminated against because of your identity?
I have not really been insulted or physically attacked for my non-binary identity. I have been denied my identity on the internet by people who think that only the binary gender system exists. Otherwise, I would say that it is rather a social discrimination due to too little education, especially at school and through laws like the transsexual law, which we non-binary people have to endure every day.