I knew I was nonbinary way before I had the vocabulary to name it. During my freshman (and only) year of college, I spent most of my free time writing poems about feeling disconnected to my body. I changed my hair and wardrobe (what felt like) daily, exchanging the feminine staples of my closet with ugly sweaters and bulky jackets from the men's section of the thrift store. However, tweaks of external presentation ultimately didn’t make me feel validated as a trans person. What it really came down to was how the people I cared about the most were recognizing me. I started to get a really big crush on a person who went to a college a couple hours away, they were also nonbinary. They were surrounded by many more trans people at school and in life than I had ever been, so flirting was nothing new to them. They complimented me with words such as “handsome” instead of “beautiful” and “attractive” as opposed to “pretty” or “cute.”
Like learning a new language, I figured out what made me feel my most confident and appreciated.
When I can tell people are unsure of how to flirt with me or compliment me, I start by asking them what their favorite compliments are. I ask whether they like to be called “pretty” “attractive” or “sexy” and encourage them to ask me the same. It never hurts to ask questions that may seem so silly or elementary when getting to know someone new.