My world, my identity, my loves
I was born "Olivia Rose Stecina" (AFAB) and grew up in suburban Colorado with my younger sister Sophia and my parents, both of whom work in education. I was an incredibly curious child, but struggled with socializing with my peers. This lead me to pursue many independent study projects and learn about technology. I moved from Johnstown to Erie in 5th grade and changed schools. My new school provided me with a lot of new technological opportunities and I began to make YouTube videos in my free time starting in 6th grade. These videos were based on short stories that I had written about the adventures of "Kendra" my stuffed companion cube (which I took with me to every class for a year or so).
It was around middle school when I started to accept my attraction to feminine-presenting people, coming out as bisexual and then as a lesbian. I was fortunately widely accepted by my family, friends, and community.
Later in middle school I deeply examined my gender identity and determined that I was not 100% female. I had experienced gender dysphoria for most of my life (although I had not recognized it as dysphoria) and distanced myself from typically feminine rituals, fashion, and haircuts. I briefly identified as genderfluid before finally realizing that I am non-binary.
After graduating high school in 2019, I moved to Chicago to study documentary filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago. After the pandemic forced me to move back home to Colorado, I did a lot of thinking and decided to move to Toronto and transfer to Ryerson University, studying Media Production with a minor in Psychology. I am very much enjoying life in Canada and love my university.
My entire life I have struggled with mental illness. Following an extensive amount of work with psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists, I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in 2021. I am not afraid to talk about my mental illness and I am an advocate for Autism acceptance and the "Nothing About Us, Without Us" movement. I consider my Autism and OCD to be a part of who I am, and I am proud to call myself Autistic.
The non-binary sapphic identity is something that deeply resonates with me. It essentially means that although I am not a woman, I maintain my lesbian-like attraction to feminine-presenting people. I have faced criticism for my identity, but I remain steadfast simply because I want to make some closeted non-binary person feel more confident about their own identities.
You may hear me refer to terms that you might not understand regarding my queerness. Here are some definitions.
Examples: She/Her, He/Him, They/Them, Xe/Xir
Your pronouns are what you wish to be referred to as. Typically, cisgender women will use "She/Her" and cisgender men use "He/Him". Non-binary individuals may choose to use "They/Them" like me or use a different set of pronouns. This site can hopefully answer other questions!
CISGENDER AND TRANSGENDER
What does AFAB and AMAB mean?
I am transgender and AFAB (which stands for Assigned Female at Birth). This means that when I was born, my doctor listed my gender as female because of my genitalia. However, over the course of my life, I have discovered that I am not female, and identify as non-binary (neither male or female, outside of gender). A cisgender person would identify as the same gender that they were assigned at birth. Learn more about cisgender/transgender people here. Learn more comprehensive definitions here.
Existing outside male and female
Many people, such as myself, do not identify as strictly male or female. Gender is a spectrum (and with intersex people, even biological sex isn't black and white) and some find themselves between male and female, consistently moving across the spectrum, or simply not a part of the gender spectrum. For me, my identity revolves around the fact that gender is not a part of who I am. I am without gender! Learn about various identities here: Non-binary, Genderqueer, Agender, Genderfluid, and the gender spectrum.
SEXUAL AND ROMANTIC ORIENTATION
Romantic, Sexual, and Platonic Attraction
It is important to distinguish sexual orientation from gender identity, as they exist on separate planes. Someone may describe their sexual orientation as specifically who they are sexually attracted to (or as asexual if they don't experience sexual attraction) in addition to who they are romantically attracted to (aromantic is also an identity!). Learn about various descriptors of sexual or romantic orientation.
REFERRING IN GENDER NEUTRAL TERMS
Here are some alternatives to gendered language that should be used when speaking or writing about me. If you have any questions, please reach out to me, as I'd much prefer for language about me to be correct!
THEY/THEM/THEIRS OR HE/HIM/HIS
Use instead of: She/Her/Hers
Learn more about using the singular "they" pronoun. If you get lost, pretend that I am three small children in a trench coat and ensure you are referring to all of them.
SAPPHIC OR QUEER
Use instead of: Lesbian
Before I discovered I was non-binary, I first came out as a lesbian. Since refining my identity, I have altered the way I describe my sexuality. Sapphic comes from Sappho of Lesbos, one of history's most iconic WLW figures. Because I am not a girl, I feel that the label lesbian does not suit me. However, I am attracted fairly exclusively to feminine presenting people (regardless of identity or assigned gender at birth) and the lesbian experience is a major part of my attraction. Sapphic acknowledges that I am not a woman, and I'm not only attracted to women, but being socialized as a woman has fundamentally shaped my sexuality so I deeply identify with the experience of lesbianism.
Use instead of: Miss, Misses, Mister, etc
Pronounced like "mix". Example: Mx. O Stecina. Learn about this term.
Use instead of: Son/Daughter
Please do not refer to me as my father's daughter, as I am not a girl.
Use instead of: Man/Woman/Girl/Boy
Enby is a shortened version of Non-binary! Non-binary = NB = En By = Enby!
Use instead of: Sister/brother
Feel free to refer to my sister Sophia as my sister as she is cis. However, refer to me as "Sophia's sibling".
Use instead of: -ess
Example: Actor instead of Actress. In cases of gendered suffixes, if a neutral version does not exist, please use the masculine variant, as I prefer to distance myself from femininity
Use instead of -man/-woman
Example: Cameraperson instead of Cameraman
GENDERED TERMS I'M COOL WITH
Bro, dude, man, etc. in a slang context
My family is allowed to use my birth name and sometimes people from my childhood call me "Livie"