I’m Pete Carr. I'm a photographer and this isn't a photography newsletter. This is a form of "Rubber Duck Debugging". Writing helps me process thoughts and work through problems. So I write to my computer about issues relating to mental health and being autistic. I then share it with you fine folk. There's nice photos too. 🖖
This week's photos are portraits from Liverpool Pride 2018. I miss doing these.
Identity follow up
Last time I wrote about coming out as non-binary. The support from people has been incredible. Thank you so much 💜
This week I'd like to try and help those who want to be supportive but perhaps don't understand. That's totally fine. I didn't fully understand until about 6 weeks ago and I will make mistakes in the future. It's ok. Only human.
I still have male bits and I'm fine with them. Gender wise I no longer identify as a man or a woman. My pronouns are currently, as they can be fluid, he/they. That means I'm fine with either. Don't worry if you call me a he. I think I'm more comfortable being a they though... maybe. Still trying things out.
But what does it mean? I'm a nut. I'm crazy in the coconut. But what does it mean? That boy needs therapy. There's nothing at all wrong with me regarding changing my gender. I still stuffer from anxiety and depression. Therapy can help there. It is possible that identifying as a man for most of my life has caused some anxiety and I'm confident that identifying as non-binary will cause more than it should in the future. I am not broken. I am not confused. I am someone who better understand themselves.
Imagine someone describing something to you and finding that you can relate to their experience because that's been happening to you but you did not have the language or understanding to wrap your head around it. For example. What if no-one ever talked about the effects of alcohol but we all felt something? Slowly some brave people discuss their issues with it and others identify with those issues. Overtime we move to a better understanding of alcohol. Not a perfect example but something I hope you can understand.
To answer some questions.
How did it feel to come out?
Bizarre. I did a Twitch show in the evening and it felt very strange to say those words out loud and describe myself that way. It felt great at the same time. Empowering.
There’s still a massive disconnect. I’m openly talking, via text and video in the comfort of my office, about being non-binary. But to be openly non-binary out in the world and talk out loud to real world humans? I need to do it to be more comfortable in my own skin. I want to do it. I really want to. It’s scary though. I never see "men" wearing skirts where I live. I see many topless men walking around but never any men in skirts or dresses. Outside of cyclists I never see any male presenting people wearing leggings. Basically I never see myself in the world. I stand out. I really stand out more than ever.
When I go for a swim I wonder what part of me people are looking at. Is it the high-vis tow float? The towel robe (dress)? The Brompton folding bike? The nail polish? The purple beard? I absolutely own the look and I'm fine with people staring because I know some of them are wishing they could be this cool. But if I did so in a dress or a cool skater skirt? I'm not there yet.
Am I transgender?
Yes. Non-binary falls under the transgender umbrella.
What is transgender?
A transgender person is one whose gender identity does not correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth.
Am I transitioning from male to female (MTF)?
No. I'm ok with my body.
Am I gay now?
No. Sexuality isn't tied to your gender. I'm straight.
Am I a woman now I wear skirts?
No. I wear my clothes. The store only has binary options because they need to get with the times. Amazingly Levi's has a genderless option which is nice to see. H&M has Divided which I'm not sure is genderless clothing. I wear the things that make me happy which are my clothes.
How do you know you're really non-binary?
Someone on Reddit put it quite simply. Cisgender, a person who's gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth, people don't question their identity. I've spent years looking at the world thinking "Well that's absurd. That doesn't make sense." In the end I binned the whole idea of gender and live freely as myself away from it all.
Am I changing my name?
I'm not sure. I'm currently ok with my name but I do wish it more accurately reflected the partnership I have with my wife. I currently have my adopted family name and the names they gave me. A nice gift but is it really me? The thought is bubbling away in the back of my mind. Who knows. Maybe. Not today though.
What if you get something wrong?
Apologise. I got things wrong in the past. I'm have a better understanding of things now but I have years of muscle memory to undo. Last night I went to pour myself a "manly" (whatever that is) beer after a long day. My head went to that place by default. Mistakes are ok. Just don't double down on them under the belief that you are right. You might not be.
But you look like a man whether your in jeans, a dress or a naked.
How I present myself isn't how I identify myself. They are two separate things. You can be cisgender and wear "women's" clothes. You can be trans and a naturist/nudist person.
So what do we call you?
"Hi. I'm Pete. I go by he/they pronouns." That means you can use he/him/they/them. Right now I'm feeling more they/them but if you say he/him it's cool.
How to be an ally
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“Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous.” Christopher Pike, Captain USS Discovery.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I’ll be back. Feel free to subscribe or send to a friend.
I'm streaming photography in various forms on Twitch.tv/petecarr. Stream schedule is Tues/Wed/Fri at 7:30PM GMT and Monday at 2PM GMT. Photography focused but accessible. Friday is a look at art events I've photographed. You can also ask me about autism and there's cat cam too.