After Leaving Cult, Nonbinary Person Comes into Own Identity. “They Call It Gender Euphoria.”

by Nox Kobus

Hi, my name is Nox Kobus. I’m from Hammonton, NJ.

So I was living in a cult when I was… from when I was two years old until I was 20. The big thing about being in a cult was that everything was controlled from what we eat, where we slept. We went to school there. We lived there.

When I was between 15 and 16. I was allow to, by the elders, to go to our town library. One of the things that I actually found was graphic novels, manga, anime, that sort of thing. Recurring thing that I always saw was that these women and female characters were going to school and they were always wearing ties. I started wanting to do that.  I wanted to wear a tie.

So we were starting the school year, my senior year. So I was actually 17 by this point. And we were getting ready for picture day. I decided that I wanted to wear a tie for picture day. And I went to and got my handbook for the school and I read that thing cover to cover – the uniform policy, the code of conduct, everything. And I saw that there was no rule expressly permitting that I couldn’t wear a tie or regulating accessories or things like that.

So I went to my little brother. He was three years younger than me. And I borrowed one of his ties. It was a very simple black tie.

Picture day came. And so I was wearing my green blue shirt and my skirt and, you know, tights and special, you know, specific shoes and everything like that. And then I put on my tie.

It definitely ruffled a lot of feathers. The principal of our school was actually one of the elders. He took me aside and he said, “You know, you’re not allowed to wear a tie.”

And I was like, “Well, actually I read the handbook and it doesn’t say that I can’t wear a tie.”

And they’re like, “Well, you really shouldn’t because that’s… that’s for men.

And I was like, “But it’s an accessory. And it doesn’t say that I can’t.” They basically just had to let me wear it. And I wore the tie and I still have the photo from picture day of me wearing a tie. My parents weren’t exactly thrilled with me. And you know, obviously the elders of the cult were not really thrilled either.

So, you know, fast forward a little while – when I was 20 years old, I left the cult. It took me that many years to get out of it, but I did. My first serious boyfriend and I, we were actually homeless for a little over a year. And then we had my daughter and – my oldest daughter, she’s five. Her name’s Riley was born.

A little bit after Riley was born, he and I were on our computer, looking at things. And I was reading an article and it had mentioned something about drag queens. I kind of fell down a rabbit hole of research into just, What is a drag queen? And, you know, as I was reading more about this, I was like, You know what really sucks is that, you know, women can’t do this.

And he was like, “Well, women wear suits all the time. It’s been a thing since the eighties, you know, the big shoulder pads.”

And I was like, “That’s not really what I’m talking about. You know, it’s more of not being just a woman in suit.”

When my daughter – my oldest daughter was a year old, I ended up leaving that – her father. I moved back in with my parents and just kind of was in limbo for a few months. And I actually met my husband a couple of months later. So we moved in together and got engaged.

And while we were engaged, I was at a point where I was in a more stable part of life.

So I went through Facebook, I started asking people that I was involved with these… on these groups. Talked about what it meant to be trans, what it meant to be nonbinary. And the more I learned about it, the more excited I got.

And so the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was who I was. It described who I was. There was one day I remember very particularly, we were in our bedroom in our little apartment and my oldest daughter was napping and we were just kind of hanging out and talking about life, basically.

And I had mentioned the concept of nonbinary and asked him if he had ever heard it before. And he was just kind of listening and quiet the whole time. And then I kind of finished the conversation by blurting out, you know, “Well, I think that I am it.” He kind of was quiet for a second and nodded. And he was like, “Okay, well that makes a lot of sense with who you are.” And that was kind of it. I came out on Facebook. I came out to my family and then I just decided to start embracing everything it meant.

I’m a college senior right now so I was a freshman at that point. I started wearing suits to presentations when I would give presentations in my business class or things like that. You know, and just like really embracing what everything about the nonbinary meant to me and fully being able to, since I was 15, feel that… they call it gender euphoria of just really embracing who you are and what that looks like.

It’s been three years since I came out. My… my daughter is now five. My oldest daughter is now five and I have another daughter who’s six months. About a year ago, my daughter was four, and she had mentioned when we were talking about gender that she didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl. And I told her that that was fine.

Thinking about the ability that my daughter has to be able to… to say those things to me, and really just have the freedom that she has, it definitely made me, like, take a deep sigh that I had.. that I – kind of, like, I had made it in a sense. It’s a big responsibility for me also to know that I have to honor this little life and, you know, allow her to be who she is.

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