Who Even Are You?

Hi, I’m Sam. I realise many of you have known me by another name previously—but it’s time for a change.

Why change?

I’m genderfluid.

Wait, really?

Yes. Really.

I don’t understand?

I’m neither a man nor a woman; I’m non-binary.

But even that is really an oversimplification of how I experience my gender: it isn’t a fixed point in space; it fluctuates.

For those whom the concept of genderfluidity is new, Zanne Nilsson wrote a good introduction that might help explain things to some.

But what’s your gender right now?

“[It’s] not possible to live twenty-four hours a day soaked in the immediate awareness of one’s sex. Gendered self-consciousness has, mercifully, a flickering nature.” — Denise Riley

In short, at this specific point in time, my gender is likely undefined. Unless I have some specific need to define it, my gender is my gender; I don’t spend my time wondering about how exactly I identify: I just am.

What do I call you?

Sam, by name. They, by pronouns. gsnedders in many places online.

How are you still gsnedders?

My middle name starts with a ‘G’, obviously.

So what is your middle name?


Can I keep calling you [deadname]?


But I’ve known you as that for most of my life!

Still no.

I’ll screw up!

Yeah, many people will. Screwing up, especially early on, isn’t surprising; what matters is how you respond to screwing up (or being told you have!), and whether you recognise the inappropriateness of calling me by a name that is no longer mine.

How long have you known?

I’ve known I wasn’t a man since I was a pre-teen. As was the case with my sexuality, I was very confused by the presumed binary nature for a long time; I started identifying as genderfluid while at university, and this is the cumulation of that. If you want the longer version, feel free to ask when you next see me—though I do reserve the right to be concise.

What should I call you when talking about your past?

Sam. In general, there’s a clear cultural trend that you should always use a person’s chosen name when referring to them, regardless of what name they were known by at the time.

Are you transitioning?

That’s an incredibly nebulous question. After all, there’s no singular answer as to what it means to transition.

Socially: this is in some ways me doing so. Medically: that is between me and my doctor. Legally: that is between me and government bureaucracy.

It’s entirely plausible things will change (as a result of medical intervention in one form or another) in the future, but be assured I’m still gonna be the same person.

Then what’s changing right now?

What I want. I’m going by a name I’m much more comfortable with and I’m hiding how I want to present much less.