Kai is a lesbian, and his parents are cool with that. Kai is also non-binary, and that’s harder for them to accept
Twenty-six-year-old Kai studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and he likes theatre, singing and playing the piano. In addition, he considers himself a non-binary lesbian and uses masculine pronouns. This means he had to come out on two levels. When Kai was thirteen, he fell in love with a girl for the first time.
“At that time I didn’t know whether I was a lesbian or not. I just took things as they were. I told her and she was cool with it. But because she wasn’t into girls, we didn’t start going out together,” Kai begins his life story. That was the first time that Kai told his mother, who told him that it’s normal, that this often happens to children of his age.
“Only it kept on happening. I was always getting crushes on girls, even on women teachers. Then I went to high school and I got scared of bad reactions. So I suppressed my attraction to girls then,” Kai continues the story of how he came out.
At university, Kai came out as bisexual, but after a few years he concluded that relationships with men aren’t right for him. “I finally told my parents by text message. The reaction was more than positive. Dad said he’d suspected it for a long time, but that it was fine. Then I found the girlfriend I’m still with today,” says Kai, describing the first part of his story.
In Kai’s words, coming out as non-binary was rather more complicated. “Five years ago I began to feel that I’m a guy. It was just that I knew I’m not a girl, but I didn’t know about non-binary people, so the logical outcome was that I must be a boy,” Kai relates. Then he told his parents, and asked them to use masculine pronouns for him. But Kai’s parents thought that his feelings came from his treatment for mental health problems and the psychosis he suffered from.
They were very sceptical about using masculine pronouns for Kai. “They said it was just my psychosis, that it’s not true and that I’d been influenced by social media. Not even my psychologist helped then. He told me that my feelings are associated with the illness,” Kai continues. “He said that it’s fine to be attracted to girls, so long as I don’t look like a boy and so long as I don’t go out with girls who look like boys,” he adds.
Kai began to suppress all these feelings due to the psychologist and other people who doubted him. “I tried to pretend to be a girl. It was several years before I properly began to look for something like non-binary people. But as soon as I read up on them, I found them, and it was such a relief. Sometimes I feel like a girl, sometimes like a boy and sometimes like nothing,” Kai explains his feelings, adding that it is now just two months since he opened up this issue again and clarified how he was feeling.
After he talked to his parents again and told them that he was now sure of his identity, about being non-binary, their reaction surprised him. “Mum told me that she had also never felt either like a woman or like a man. So her reaction was that I got it from her,” Kai remembers, smiling. By contrast, his father didn’t take it well. He convinced Kai that he must go to hospital if that is what he thinks. For the second time, Kai’s mum tried to respect his use of masculine pronouns, but his father continued to think that Kai's feelings were nonsense. “Dad will often correct me to feminine forms when I talk about myself using masculine forms,” states Kai as an example.
A psychotherapist helped Kai to accept himself and she confirmed that feeling like this is absolutely normal. Then Kai decided to come out to his girlfriend too. She was completely cool about him being non-binary. Kai’s female friends all reacted similarly.
Currently Kai uses female pronouns with his parents in their house, even though he says it’s very unpleasant for him. These circumstances have even forced him to doubt his feelings again. However, he always remembers the time when had to pretend to be a woman and this confirms to him that he isn’t one. “It’s hard. I hope that, when Dad realises that I’m fine and not ill, he will get it,” Kai wishes.
Kai also uses female pronouns in public. He is aware that he looks like a woman, and so it could be confusing for others. He’s also very afraid of the reaction, because he is sure that people only know about men and women. If he talked about himself to others using male forms, they would automatically think that he’s a man, and he doesn’t want that.
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