I've spent the last few months trying very hard to write a Coming Out post. I got as far as...
"I am Kelly Rain and I am Non-binary"
I can write about fashion, social issues, politics, music or whatever else I am interested in all day. When it comes to writing about deeply personal topics, my head goes silent, I over think and I end up with pages of content I can't possibly share.
How do you tell the world you are something you have always been? It isn't as if I suddenly became Non-binary or entered into some cocoon like transformation. I am the same as I have always been. What has changed is that I now have a vocabulary to explain it, something my generation didn't have.
The other thing that changed was that I finally found the courage to speak up.
So first a compressed decades long story.
I have always felt that my gender was somewhere outside the boundaries of male. I also knew I was not female. Instead I felt that the two co-existed inside me in a balance that was more than just the natural inclusion of masculine and feminine attributes that all people possess. For me it was more than that, something far more fundamental to my existence.
All my life I knew I was different and so did others. When I was young it made me an outcast, as I grew up people thought I was probably gay, I wasn't. Eventually I found my way to the alternative and gothic community and there, how I was didn't matter. Gender was less rigidly enforced and being unusual was safe and even empowering. I started to identify as an androgynous leaning male. It was long before anyone wrote or talked about Non-binary, so it was the best I had and I adopted it.
Fast forward decades to about five years ago when I started reading about Non-binary gender identity. The stories I read echoed my own experiences and I realized this was the language I'd been wanting all my life to help me express who I am.
For a while that was enough for me. I didn't feel the need to take it any farther. Until early 2019 when my world nearly came to an end.
Working in Tokyo means working all the time. Add to that music, co-owning a cafe and everyday life, crazy busy was just a state of being. That is how life works here, but after years of insane work and rising stress, I got sick. So sick that my doctor said I need to stop or die. It shook my entire world.
There is nothing like facing mortality to make you want to reconcile outstanding things, come to terms with who you are and put your life in order. I realized that I didn't want to die without first being true and open about who I have always been.
Still, coming out late in life is terrifying. Everyone you know thinks they really know you. Big surprises are not something most family and friends are ready for. This was demonstrated to me with my first, and completely failed, attempts to come out to friends I thought would understand and be supportive. One replied "Why do you need a gender identity, you are just a feminine guy." Another friend, interestingly from the LGBT community, said "Well if Non-binary is your thing, then ok I guess."
These reactions inspired me to rethink how to come out. So I decided to first connect to other people from our community and build my support network. With my amazing wife, Megumi Rain fully supporting and encouraging me, I made connections and got to know more people like me. That helped me feel more confident and valid and that gave me an idea. I'd come out by website and I'd make it part of a process to bring visibility to people like me, a little older, AMAB and coming out later in life.
So here we are. 2020, middle of a global pandemic and I am coming out. My health is better now, my life priorities have changed. I am growing stronger all the time and feeling more empowered by my identity and confidence in who I am.
To my friends and family. I am Non-binary. This isn't an epic change. I am still the Kelly you've always known. I am not announcing any major changes. I am simply finally saying who I have always been. I hope this means there will be no changes in our relationships. I love you all and I am committed to our family and friendships as I always have been.
I am not asking for any change in treatment. I am not changing my pronouns, My presentation is likely to be just a changing and unusual as always. You don't need to change how you interact with me at all. And I hope you won't.
I identify as Non-binary and that is the gender terminology I use now. I still keep that old idea of androgynous person too. It is an old familiar friend, and though I don't look very androgynous now, it was a life long comfort to me and I plan to keep it.
I don't have terms for my sexual orientation. I have always thought of my sexuality as straight, even though I guess that isn't technically so. I am married to an amazing woman who is my life partner and best friend, that is where my orientation is and will stay as long as I live.
Finally my expression and presentation. Well... That has never been anything but 100% Kelly. I am more likely to present as alternative than anything else. So expect more of that. I still love pioneering fashion and I have not intention of stopping as long as I can dress myself.
So there it is FINALLY!! My coming out post. Not the well written artistic article or passionate self declaration speech I'd hoped for, but it will have to do. It is sincere and it is me.
Thanks for reading.
I'm Kelly Rain and I am Non-Binary Me!!