Nonbinary acceptance

It’s almost 2018, and yet many people still think that gender is limited to two binary options. Anyone not conforming to this is met with ridicule and shame.

As a nonbinary person, this feels almost suffocating, in a way. I want to go in public wearing whatever clothes I want. I want to have people (including my parents!) call me by my pronouns and my name. And yet I know that isn’t happening in today’s world. In my head, I envision my parents reacting positively to me coming out, and then I remember that won’t happen.

This is a depressing reality for many, if not all nonbinary people. But we cannot passively accept this. We need to fight for acceptance. We need to encourage each other, and our allies, to fight. We need to remember that one day, we can have a world where we’re accepted as ourselves. But that won’t happen if we don’t take action now.

One of the loudest things you can do is be yourself publicly. Wear a button with your pronouns on the clothes that match your true identity. Correct people when they misgender you. Set your gender on Facebook to what it truly is, for all to see. If you are in a situation where you can do any of these things, please do.

If not, find another way. In my case, I’ve started a blog. Even something as subtle as saying “they” instead of “he or she” makes a difference. If you’re a parent, tell your child that you’ll love them no matter how they identify or how they present themselves. If you’re a teacher, remind your students that gender isn’t binary. It takes seconds for anyone to write a tweet that says “gender isn’t binary.” Remember– every little thing makes a difference.

And if you’re in a place where you feel vulnerable or depressed because of your gender, please remember that you and your identity are valid, and there is an entire community of people like you and I that cares about you and supports you. It will get better.

We all need to keep fighting for our right to be accepted in society, because if we don’t, then no one will.


The importance of listening to communities for definitions

I don’t usually swear on here, but as a bisexual person, it irritates the f*ck out of me when I read the “definition” for bisexual as being “sexually attracted to both men and women.” It irritates me because then people will tell bi people like me that that’s true, and that what we define bisexuality as is not valid.

This doesn’t just happen for bisexuals, of course. Dictionaries (and, by extension, their readers) seem to have a habit of defining sexual orientations and gender identities independently from what the people that identify as them actually have to say.

For example, look at the definition of genderfluid on Google. It says a genderfluid person is “a person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed gender.” This seems okay at the first glance, but then you realize that it never actually claims that it’s a gender. Alas, Google says gender is “the state of being male or female.”

Meanwhile, a blog titled “Genderfluid Support” has a definition of “the feeling of fluidity within your gender identity; feeling a different gender as time passes or as situations change; not restricted to any number of genders.” Note that this says “within your gender identity,” and thus is not denying that it’s a gender like Google is.

And this, unfortunately, happens for almost every single identity. If it’s not even in the dictionary, it happens when people talk to each other and spread false ideas about what some of these words mean.

The lesson that people need to learn from this is that when it comes to identities, one needs to listen to the people that actually identify as them.

I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments. I’m Ari, they/them.