It’s Raining: You Need to Get to Know the Non-Binary Umbrella.
By approximately 262,560 people in the UK.
Non-binary. Some people aren’t common with this term, or really understand what it means at all. You might be more familiar with terms such as: genderqueer, gender neutral, agender or gender fluid. They all fall under the same umbrella for gender non-binary.
So what does that mean? Non-binary is a gender identity which isn’t exclusively masculine or feminine, they often convey themselves in a combination of gender expressions on the spectrum between male and female. It varies from person to person and from day to day it can fluctuate: one day could be particularly feminine and another could be particularly masculine – however, it doesn’t change or invalidate their gender identity: it can be fixed or fluid.
Recently, a few separate events have sparked the need for the article – to raise awareness of identities outside of the cisnormitivity. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge and understanding within the population leads to the general consensus that gender non-binary can be ignored, or not even considered in the first place. For example, the lack of gender neutral bathrooms in public places. So many individuals end up inflicting themselves with a UTI because of not wanting to go to the bathroom in public, purely because it’s too uncomfortable to go into either a men’s or a women’s, and then even when they do this can lead to a lot of judgement or even violence in some cases when entering a bathroom they might not particularly “fit” with.
Confusion is also bound to happen, that’s a given. And it might not matter to you, but it matters to those that identify as non-binary, having the wrong pronouns thrust upon you can lead to all kinds of discomfort and dysphoria. The best thing to do is just ask what language they use to describe themselves and how they identify: what pronouns they use whether he/she/they or a mixture of all and any. Some might even just prefer to be referred to by name. However, because of the nature of how personal the subject is to someone especially if they’re afraid of the reception when they ‘come out’, it can be quite daunting to express their identity of something that’s less well known. So yes, it might push you out of your comfort zone to call your brother ‘her/she’ or your best friend ‘they/them’ but they are stepping into their comfort zone and that’s what matters.
Having a great support system and community really benefits those that fall under the umbrella of gender non-binary. So I urge you, that if any of your friends or family express these feelings to you, know that it was hard for them to tell you; know that they trusted you enough to come to you; know that they need you to respect their identity and use the language that makes them feel most comfortable; and know that they are still the same person – if anything their confidence and personality will actually shine more, knowing they can express their true self.
Before you go, take a listen to this Ted Talk:
And finally, some dates for all your future diaries:
Trans Visibility Day: 31st March
International Non-Binary Day: July 14th