Hello. My name is Elm. You all know me better as Elsa. But as of August, I have been using a new name. You may be wondering why I chose to use this other name. It’s because Elsa was a very feminine sounding name––more feminine than I feel. Also, I am non-binary. I’m sure many of you know what that means, but in case you don’t, it means I identify as neither male nor female. It wasn’t a choice to be this way. It is how I was born to be.
Feeling outside of male or female feels just the same as being in them, except less constrained, less subject to the rules of society. I felt like I identified this way because I never really fit into one defined category. I never felt like I quite fit in as either a boy or a girl.
And just a quick side note––gender has nothing to do with sexuality. My pronouns are they/them.
I have been using they/them since April. Many people don’t understand, and ask me over and over again, “So, are you a boy or a girl?” even after I’ve explained it. This can be frustrating for me, but I always try to be patient. I understand why people slip up––it’s hard for people who didn’t grow up with this concept to get it, and even harder to try to relearn the English language. I’m never upset or offended when people make a mistake, as long as they’re trying. Even I sometimes look at someone and assume their pronouns. I usually catch myself though, and set it to a default “they.”
One way to help avoid gender assumptions is for everyone to share their pronouns, even cisgender people. The church just started making stickers that you can add to your nametag to share your pronouns. You can find them in the hall outside of the sanctuary. It’s fine if you don’t want to do this. It’s just one way to show support and there are many others.
Being genderqueer can be hard but I’m lucky to live in such a supportive community, full of patient, respectful, and understanding people. Thank you to Rev. Susanne for inviting me up here today, and thank you all for listening! I also want to give a shout out to my friend Quinn, the child of Rev. Susanne. I’m proud of them for being so brave, and being open about who they are. All these things apply to both of us, and maybe others in the church as well. Thank you.