Recently I changed my name from Niels to Sem. I’d like to share a few words for those interested and who’d like to learn more about being trans and non-binary.
In recent years I have discovered a whole lot about myself; this includes my gender-identity. I comfortably identify as non-binary, meaning I am neither a man or a woman, nor is my identity in any way related to that binary system. Non-binary, to me, means no such thing as being “X% man and X% woman”, I simply do not associate with those terms. Mind you, the non-binary gender identity is a broad term and different non-binary people might define the term differently. Something to keep in mind. One thing is oftentimes universally agreed on though: non-binary is an identity that breaks from the imperialist concept of the binary gender system.
In combination with my newfound gender identity (it’s been two incredibly happy years already!) I have recently started using the pronouns they/them (die/diens for my Dutch pals). Pronouns are the terms you use to refer to a person without using their name. For example: “That’s Sem on their bike. Sem is Dutch so they‘re pretty good at biking”. The same example in Dutch: “Dat is Sem op diens fiets. Sem is Nederlands dus die kan best wel goed fietsen”.
Even more recently I decided it was time to leave my masculine name, Niels, behind and go with something more neutral: Sem. Henceforth I’m Sem, Niels is in the past. This new name means a lot to me and it is icing on the cake of my social transition. Now, neither my calling name nor my pronouns are connected to my troubled past as a ‘man’.