HAPPY (BELATED) NON-BINARY PEOPLE'S DAY!
This past 14 July was International Non-Binary People's Day. The term "non-binary" refers to persons whose gender identification does not sit comfortably into the categories of "man" or "woman." Non-binary individuals may believe that their gender identity and gender experience entail being both a man and a woman, or that it is fluid, in the middle, or wholly outside of that binary. Non-binary identities tend to go very unseen beca
use our society is structured in a way that constantly reinforces the gender binary. This can make them feel unheard and invisible and this can often lead to anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness.
As a genderqueer person, who falls under the umbrella of non-binary identities, I wanted to share with you some tips on how we can do better.
TIPS & ADVICE
Don't assume anyone's gender because of how they look. Non-binary people don't owe society endogeneity or a certain way of appearing or expressing themselves. Ask people how they want to be referred to, ask them for their pronouns and use yours publicly every chance you get.
Help make non-binary people seen! Recognizing and respecting non-binary people's pronouns and identity is a great start, additionally, giving them spaces, where their experiences can be voiced, is a great way of recognizing and helping others naturalize non-binary identities.
Non-binary people can use gender-neutral pronouns or a combination of all pronouns. If you aren't sure of someone's gender identity or pronouns, use they/them as you would in any other context in the English language.
Are non-binary people transgender? In theory, yes, transgender people are those who don't identify with their sex assigned at birth, so non-binary would fit this definition, but not all non-binary people refer to themselves as trans so make sure to ask before assuming someone’s gender identity.
Are non-binary identities a new trend? No! Non-binary identities have always existed, in non-western societies, they have had different names, two-spirit, muxe, hijra, etc. What is newer is the category ‘non-binary’ as a way of encompassing these identities.
If you are organizing an event, ask for gender-neutral bathrooms to be included, if the venue doesn't have them, request that they install temporary signage for the duration of your event. Having to choose between male and female can be extremely uncomfortable for a non-binary person. This, unfortunately, happens a lot while traveling and during day-to-day activities, like trying on clothes at a mall, for example.
Other languages are also including gender-neutral forms. In Spanish, LGBTQ+ and feminist movements are strongly pushing for the use of E at the end of gendered words. So, using terms like: Bienvenides or Todes is quickly becoming more common, especially among younger generations.
Some famous representations of non-binary people are Sam Smith, Demi Lovato, Jonathan Van Ness, Indya Moore, Alok Menon, and many more. We're everywhere!
We're also seeing more and more representation of non-binary people
in the media and in shows like Billions, Sex Education, Degrassi: Next Class, Steven Universe, The Umbrella Academy, Star Trek: Discovery, &Juliet (the upcoming Broadway Show, currently playing in Toronto, etc.).
I also wanted to let you all know (some of you already know this), that my preferred pronouns are they/them (elle in Spanish). Even though I don't feel misgendered when referred to as he/him, I feel much more validated in my identity when referred to in a gender-neutral way.
I know for some of you this is your first direct contact with someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, which is why I welcome you to feel free to explore your learning process with me, judgment free!
Here's a visual guide of non-binary identities:
If you want to explore other resources on your own, this book helped me through my understanding of non-binary life experiences and in finding my own path towards gender freedom.
This article from the Guardian might also be helpful if someone in your circle has come out as non-binary.
If you have any questions about this, I am happy to answer.
You can contact Santiago here.
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John Bellamy Comments:
I am really torn about all the new identities people are recognizing with as a sexuality. Brought up with Him and Her - Gay and Straight - it screams to me that those who do not have an identity because they are shy or just quiet now have a claim - a box to be put in and recognised as being, and I find it all just so fucking boring.
Everyone must have their own label and am I - because I love the dark, to recognise as a vampire and get my own flag / symbol. recognise the needs of the many to be recognised for what they want to be, but simple biology has already made a claim on the physical and if the emotional / mental mind is not in sync with the physical then I admit that must be very confusing, and while they come to terms with being able in the UYK to announce their differences, time is the only way it will allow for everyone to accept and use the correct it, him, she, they pronoun just as millions still call gay men queer and puffs and still have not accepted the word gay - and this utter confusing list of sexual identities is vast and is confusing to most and if you recognise as something and you are mis gendered by people, GET THE FUCK OVER IT - as THAT is your choice and if unrecognised by others, then like being a twin and constantly called the wrong name, GET OVER IT and help educate and stop screaming you are so offended, as if you think THAT is offensive, you have a long way to go before YOU accept the differences in people and YOU use the correct pronoun for others as well. It goes two ways and with such a long list to remember, most simply will use Mr. Mrs. Gay, Straight. Lesbian and ( what is non binary again ??? )
All the others will fade away and be forgotten in time as the mass of people just ignore the codes just as most gay men ignored the hanky code back in the 70's and 80's. Gone and forgotten.