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*Mentions of mild misgendering 

and dysphoria

*Mentions of mild misgendering 

and dysphoria

Author Bio:

Madeline Dintino (they/them) is a queer and non-binary individual who specializes in thinking, creating, and designing for radical inclusivity. They are a queer theorist with a focus on fashion design, and they believe that with the liberation of the most marginalized among us, we all are set free. 

Madeline runs a zine publication called LooseChange under their brand, the Flower Punks Collective (@flower.punks). 

Author Bio:

Madeline Dintino (they/them) is a queer and non-binary individual who specializes in thinking, creating, and designing for radical inclusivity. They are a queer theorist with a focus on fashion design, and they believe that with the liberation of the most marginalized among us, we all are set free. 

Madeline runs a zine publication called LooseChange under their brand, the Flower Punks Collective (@flower.punks). 

Transition and transformation

This is the place where I keep finding myself for the past year. Over and over. Transitioning from college into the workforce, transitioning into covid and now out of covid, transitioning to living in a new city, transitioning from being single into a new relationship. 


And perhaps the most profound of all, THE transition. I discovered that I am non-binary, and I go by they/them. 


To come out and transition at this time had its perks, of course. I could exist in my little bubble without going out into society; I was in a cocoon, getting to know my true self and discovering how I can exist with my gender in the world. The downside is, other than the enby side of TikTok, I felt pretty much alone. 

Illustration Credits: Madeline Dintino 

Emerging from the Cocoon

My transition so far has surprised me: I felt massive euphoria right when I came out and was so proud of myself for knowing who I was. I felt right in my skin for the first time in a very long time. It was like finally finding that missing puzzle piece, and that feeling of satisfaction when it perfectly fits. It was only when other people got involved (or more accurately, declined to be involved) that the trials began. The reality started to set in as I reentered society: people were just not going to catch on, and I had to learn to navigate a world that wasn’t built for me. From being intensely misgendered by a condescending cishet while getting my vaccine to seeing insidious anti-trans legislation in 2021, “re-entry” has not exactly been smooth. Those gender roles and continuous policing that I was safe from in quarantine are now coming back. 


This is a part of quarantine breaking that no one prepared me for: as queer and trans folx, it is hard to recognize how each instance creates an onslaught in daily life. Each micro-aggression, misgendering, and (let’s be honest) just straight up aggression and hate compounds. It becomes a wall of discomfort and fear when we leave safe spaces, if we are lucky enough to have those spaces at all. With lowered tolerance to misgendering, queer spaces become more sacred than ever. 


It is hard to describe to cis folks the tidal wave of these instances in the outside world. We have to build up a skin from the daily irritation and violence. In some ways, quarantine spoiled us, and for me, I am just starting to build that skin now. From the subway to the street to the workplace to certain circles of friends and family, there are different levels of validation or violence we have to prepare for. 


I'm Basically Exhausted

To be honest, I AM TIRED! This stuff is mega-exhausting! WTF! Consistently having to re-conceptualize one’s sense of self and place in the world is no joke. It is a myth that coming out is the hardest part, because in some ways, especially as people outside the binary, we have to come out and re-come out every day of our lives. While also having patience with people trying to figure it out, and keep reminding people of our pronouns and remind ourselves that “they don’t know any better.” Beyond this, we are targets for hate crimes as well. 


It is amazing to me how many people have discovered their gender during quarantine, myself included, and it feels like I am part of a cultural generation: the quarantine queers. A group of us that prove that without constant pressure from the outside world, we can blossom into our true selves. 


I don’t know if I am the most qualified to offer advice, but I will try anyway, because I believe we all must support each other.



We are so happy you are queer!

You really are not. You may feel alone, I know I do. It is hard when no one in your life can quite understand what it is like in your shoes. But there are people out here who can get close! In physical and online queer spaces, there are people who will listen, and people who can relate. 


This too shall pass

Know that tumultuous times come to an end. The feeling of massive transition always has another side to it. You will make it! 

Transformation is a time to re-pattern

Times of transition can have a lot of potential. If you feel like you are in a time of massive change and it feels super overwhelming, there is a chance there, an opportunity to re-pattern parts of life. For example, I am going through the process of trying to harness this period of transformation, to transform feelings of anxiety into creativity. When change is afoot, there is the chance to alter many patterns and habits that before have been set. 


You are queer, and we are excited about that! 

You can rest knowing there is a group of people out there who are so so happy that you discovered yourself. 

We are so happy you are queer. 

We are so happy you are trans. 


I love you, and remember, you are not alone! 


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