I Was Assigned Female At Birth, But I Identify As Non-Binary

February 19, 2021

As told to Mariam 

During my first week at Zikoko, I wanted to write an article on how body dysmorphia affects women. I made a call for women to share their stories with me and Fisayo* messaged me. I eventually found that a similar article had been written but the conversation I had with them led to this article.


I was assigned female at birth and raised as a girl, but I identify as a trans non-binary person with they/them pronouns. 

One day, when I was about ten years old, I cut off all my hair with a pair of scissors and told people I wanted to be a boy. At the time, I thought those were the only two genders available. My dad was actually pretty cool with it — I guess because he always wanted a son. My mum, on the other hand, tried to force me into acting more feminine for a while. She made me wear dresses. 

In secondary school, I mingled with other girls more and tried to emulate their hairstyle and their makeup. I always knew it wasn’t my thing, but I wanted to make my mum happy. As I got older, I found that I was more comfortable wearing masculine clothes. I think I’ve finally found a balance that everyone is cool with. I’m fine braiding my hair, and I don’t mind wearing makeup, but at the same time, I don’t feel like myself in traditionally feminine clothes.

Sometime in 2018, I came across a TikTok video on being genderfluid, and it sparked something in me. I started to read more articles and watch more videos to learn about myself.

The only person in my family that truly knows who I am is my younger sister. I’ve been having discussions with her about people who aren’t boys or girls because they’re not happy with it, as well as boys who like boys and girls who like girls. It’s something we’ve always talked about since she was like seven years old — she’s nine now. These days, she asks if I’m okay with being called things like beautiful because she knows it’s typically for girls. But I know a couple of people who think I’m just confused, on social media and in-person too. The people I interact with at school are quite understanding. My family doesn’t exactly know I’m non-binary yet because I haven’t figured out how to explain it to them.  

My relationship with my body depends on the day. Sometimes, I absolutely love my body and other days, I do not feel masculine enough or feminine enough. For me, body dysmorphia is tied to gender dysphoria because even though I was assigned female at birth, I don’t identify as female. So at times when I feel distressed about my body, it affects how I feel about my gender identity. For example, being on my period just reminds me that I was assigned a certain gender. 

I am used to people misgendering me especially because I live in Nigeria — most people don’t understand it, including queer people. I intend to go on hormone blockers and probably testosterone someday, so hopefully, the way I feel on the inside will match how I look on the outside.

If I were to rate my life living as a trans nonbinary person in Nigeria, I would give it a six. At first glance, when you see me, I don’t look non-binary because I present extremely feminine even in masculine clothes. I think it’s more obvious in my personality than in my physical appearance. It took a while for me to know that non-binary doesn’t equal androgyny. It’s kinda fun when strangers have to wonder about your gender. I’d like to cut my hair at some point when I’m ready. Try some protein shakes and start working out as well, but I can’t right now due to some health issues. I also want to get a whole new wardrobe of clothes that would aptly represent who I am.


For more female-centred content, click this.

Mariam Sule

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

What She Said
March 10, 2021

This week’s What She Said is Modupe Ehirim, a 62-year-old Nigerian woman. She talks about growing up in a close-knit family, choosing to marry rather than continue with her education in the UK and not knowing how to make friends until she was 50. Let’s start from the beginning. When I look back now, my […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

May 15, 2021

At the end of the day, what is your soul really worth? A plate of food like Esau? Or you have nothing left of your soul for sale? Don’t take this quiz if you don’t like to be exposed sha, because we will find out. QUIZ: How Much Is Your Soul Worth?

May 15, 2021

Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians. The subject of today’s Sex Life is a 28-year-old gay man who recently discovered he is a side — a gay man who isn’t interested in penetrative sex. He talks about how this affects […]

May 14, 2021

Bolanle Austen-Peters Production, in collaboration with the MTN Foundation, is bringing the story and characters of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman to the Terra Kulture stage on May 13 to 16 in eight performances. The story, which is inspired by true events, is about a king’s horseman who is prevented from committing ritual […]

Recommended Quizzes

February 26, 2020

Are you all set for marriage, or are you still figuring it out? Well, if you’re curious to know the answer, then this is the quiz for you. All you have to do is create your own ideal Nollywood wedding film, and we’ll tell you if you’re ready to say “I do”. Go ahead:

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

More from Her

The Worst Thing A Friend Has Done
May 14, 2021

Friendships can be tricky. Sometimes, friends hurt each other and it’s hard to get past that. In this article, we asked seven Nigerian women to share the worst thing a friend has done to them.  Ibinabo, 24 I had this roommate when I was doing my diploma in Ibadan. I was a new student but […]

May 12, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is a 50-year-old woman who dated her ex-husband for 12 years and was married to him for 14 years. She talks about leaving him after years of being manipulated, the joy that comes from being a single woman again and life as a divorced Christian woman.

Women Who Love Sports
May 11, 2021

For misogynist reasons, women who love sports are always asked one question or the other when they tell people they love sports. Here are seven of the things women hate they hate the most. 1. ‘Do you understand the rules?’ If you don’t geddifok, of course, they understand the rules. Do YOU understand the rules?  […]

May 7, 2021

As a woman with big feet, there are various struggles you would encounter on a daily basis, and some specially when you want to buy new shoes. Here are five things women with big feet can relate to. 1) Shoe sizes are so hard to find Most shoe sizes for women are very limited. If […]

queer
May 7, 2021

As told to Mariam I put a call out for women to tell me the things that affect their mental health most. In Ada’s* message, she said her parents found out she is queer. I was curious about how that played out and I asked more questions. Here’s what she told me: I am the […]

May 6, 2021

Purity culture is usually a combination of religious and cultural beliefs that promote abstinence from sexual activities till marriage. These six Nigerian women share with us how they overcame purity culture. Yinka, 23 A lot of the guilt and shame I felt around sex and decency came from following Christianity. I was taught that I […]

Hedge Witch
May 5, 2021

As told to Mariam I have known Wendy for about three years and during this time, I have watched her go from being irreligious to religious and back to being irreligious. As an irreligious person myself, I was curious about her journey so sometime in March I asked her. Here’s what she told me:   I […]

May 5, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is a 34-year-old Nigerian woman who grew up getting everything she asked for. She talks about constantly pursuing enjoyment, and how that led to her leaving her cheating husband and raising her two children independently.  What was it like growing up?  I had a pretty happy childhood. I […]

May 4, 2021

The culture of invalidating women and shutting down their experiences because people are uncomfortable with the conversation needs to die. The idea of tagging women-centred conversations as an agenda is a shallow and unfair attempt at creating a distraction. To counter this, we have compiled a list of things Nigerian women do not need a […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X