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

March 26, 2019

When it comes to my monthly periods I got dealt a pretty great card. I don’t have a particularly heavy flow, I never get cramps, no mood swings, no hormonal breakouts. I pretty much just bleed for 4-5 days and call it a week. When I turned about 18, my monthly periods took a weird […]

Zikoko What She Said
February 10, 2021

This week’s What She Said is a 26-year-old woman. She talks about losing her mum, feeling alienated by her sisters because they just didn’t understand her, and how being the last child made her dad’s drinking problem her responsibility. Let’s start from the beginning. I have strong memories from when I was two till when […]

March 30, 2021

Jumpsuits are gaining popularity, and it upsets me and my homegirls. So, here are five reasons why I think jumpsuits should be banned. 1) It has a stupid name It is not a suit, it does not jump, it is not a suit that gives you the ability to jump. In fact, it is not […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Rich Nigerian Auntie
June 23, 2021

A rich Nigerian auntie doesn’t refer to those aunties from your father’s side that do nothing but comment on your weight and ask you when you’d be getting married. The rich Nigerian auntie is an aesthetic bigger than one person — and here’s how to be sure you are one… 1. You have the dress […]

June 23, 2021

They say, “money is not everything” but have you seen credit alerts? Particularly these 5 Types listed below? 1. Alert from someone who said “send your account number” ages ago This is how wide you’ll smile. May such people not sleep until they’ve credited you oh. 2. Salary alerts Especially when your salary has finished […]

June 23, 2021

Music they say gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything. Music is healing, it is an explosive expression of humanity, something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music and that is why we are particularly excited about this […]

June 23, 2021

The morning after having sex should be the most romantic, regardless of the relationship you have with the woman you just had sex with. You have to be grateful for her act of service. How you greet her the morning after is the easiest way to show your gratitude. Here’s a list of ways to […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

June 14, 2020

Have you ever been with someone so horrible that you swore to never date again? Yes? Well, do you know that one or more of your exes probably feels the same way about you? You never thought about that, huh? Thankfully, this quiz is here to let you know just how much of a hassle […]

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

More from Her

Rich Nigerian Auntie
June 23, 2021

A rich Nigerian auntie doesn’t refer to those aunties from your father’s side that do nothing but comment on your weight and ask you when you’d be getting married. The rich Nigerian auntie is an aesthetic bigger than one person — and here’s how to be sure you are one… 1. You have the dress […]

Black woman worried and anxious standing
June 22, 2021

Living with an anxiety disorder can be frustrating especially when in the company of those who do not understand it. In this article, ten Nigerian women living with anxiety talk about how it affects their relationships.  Bimbo, 25 I’m always scared that something bad has happened to my partner, so daily calls are a must […]

June 21, 2021

People are always asking what can actually fit into women’s mini bags. Since you wanted to know so bad, here are six things that can fit in those mini bags. 1) Patience All the patience a Nigerian woman has can fit into one of those tiny bags. The bags get smaller if the women are […]

Black woman lying down on a red chair in tears about leaving her ex
June 18, 2021

Sometimes we get overwhelmed and make decisions we later regret. In this article, seven Nigerian women talk about why they regret leaving their ex.  Tomisin, 25 My ex used to send me not less than 50k every month.  He moved abroad and after two months, he told me he has fallen in love with someone […]

Black women living with acne
June 16, 2021

Dealing with acne is never easy. From random people recommending products to you to the self-esteem dip, everyone has their story. In this article, seven Nigerian women talk about living with acne.  Khloe, 22  I was 14 the first time I noticed acne on my face. It was my first year in university. I didn’t […]

June 16, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is a 25-year-old Nigerian woman who has travelled to over fifteen countries alone. She talks about how this love for travelling started, the way she’s stigmatised at airports and in hotels, and her dream to attend aviation school. What was growing up like? Life was good until […]

menstrual cups
June 15, 2021

As inflation happens and prices of products across the country increase, more Nigerian women are moving away from pads to more sustainable sanitary products. In this article, five Nigerian women talk about their experience using menstrual cups.  Elizabeth, 19 Sanitary pads never did it for me. Getting good sanitary pads was a real struggle for […]

June 11, 2021

How we start our day usually has a paramount effect on how the rest of our day goes. When you love a woman or want to move to a woman you like, it is important you send her beautiful messages to put her in the right mood. Here’s a list of helpful ways on how […]

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