Today is International Non-Binary People’s Day, and we want to be heard. I’m sitting here writing this with my pronouns tattooed on my head in make-up. I have no intricate skills and am generally a messy human being, so it’s not completely perfect, but it’s the statement that matters; maybe they’ll respect my pronouns then.
This look was one I created as a statement, as an ode to priding those who identify outside of the gender binary, myself included. I wanted to include pronouns; I wanted to include the flag; I wanted to include self expression (the latter explaining the lightening bolt). In this look I included the pronouns I go by, but of course that is not to limit non-binary pronouns to these – I am just not one to appropriate, nor would it have felt right to portray incorrect pronouns in this statement.
I identify personally as a non-binary woman, and as suggested within the image, my pronouns are she/they. Generally I state my pronouns to be flexible and I subsequently don’t mind which is used, however there are some days I have a preference and if that is the case, those around me would be informed, so they can respect my identity. Typically, the attitude I hold towards my pronouns is that I am happy with she/her or they/them pronouns, as long as you can respect my identity. I am not cis. There are instances where I feel particularly euphoric in my identity though, with regards to pronouns… My girlfriend tends to thread both in, and at the same time, using both pronouns within the same sentence or paragraph, and that really makes my heart beam.
This is the first year I’ve been out as non-binary, and it is really liberating. It has also been tough, that’s needless to say; people still don’t get it.
It took me until Oxford Pride, in which I confided in a non-binary pal, for me to feel valid enough to bear the enby flag. Although I knew that I would have told someone who wasn’t me to stop being stupid, of course they had the right, of course they were valid, due to the hostility of some people i’d met over the past year and fear of appropriation, I was worried to fly the flag, or even ask someone else enby in case I ‘wasn’t valid enough’.
I do think that explains a lot of the struggles I had with my identity, if i’m honest – validity. I never felt valid, and always felt anxious. This was something I completely supressed for a long time before, and when I stopped, was scared to come out about.
I’m quite ‘femme’ presenting and personally do not identify as trans-non-binary, but some non-binary people do, many do, and that is valid.
There’s a few things I want to say on this important day:
- Not all non-binary people use they/them pronouns! But those who do would like you to RESPECT their pronouns, and all of us would like you to respect our gender identity.
- Some, but not all, non-binary people identify as trans.
- If you identify outside the binary, you identify outside the binary. You are non-binary/trans ‘enough’. There is no ‘not enough’.
- Non-binary people are not always androgynous appearing.
- Non-binary people are not always AFAB, white, skinny etc, as the media presents. ANYONE can be non-binary, and all non-binary people are valid.
Remember, pride was started as a protest by a black trans woman.
I want people to hear our voices. I want to hear yours. Please send me a message if you would like me to edit a quote for you into the following, important section.
“Being non binary is just a part of the reinvention of gender in a society that is learning more everyday about what it means to be LGBTQ+. Before coming out as non binary, I was out as bisexual. Now identifying as a lesbian, I understand the complexity of gender and sexuality. What I want people to know, including gay, bisexual, and transgender people, is that it is possible to be out of the gender binary and still identify as a lesbian. Gatekeeping within the queer community is toxic, naive, and threatens to draw away from the main issue— pride as a protest against gender and sexuality norms.” – Soph Watkins, they/them.
“I’m non binary, but I’m not just non binary. There’s so much more to me than my gender identity. People often treat me like a walking encyclopedia of what it’s like to be gender nonconforming, and it can get frustrating to rattle out the same definitions time after time. I’m usually happy to answer a few respectful questions, but Google is also your friend.
On the other hand, being non binary is a big part of my life. It effects me everything day, every single time I get called Miss or Ma’am, every time I use the bathroom in public. It’s a constant battle between who you are, and how a world that only truly accepts the idea of binary genders perceives you, and it is exhausting.” – Rob, they/them.
“I’m a non-binary woman and it’s a part of my life which I rarely feel comfortable discussing with other people. For a few years I’ve had people in my life blatantly ignore my identity and felt so disrespected that for a while I gave up on talking about my gender at all. But now I feel proud to identify as a demigirl, as it’s a label that encapsulates the fluidity I experience in my gender but also my attachment to femininity. I’m comfortable with any pronouns, which is just as well because despite my fairly androgynous appearance, I am assumed to be female every day. But I’m hoping that in future I’ll be able to become more confident with my non binary identity, and feel more comfortable speaking out about how I prefer to be referred to. Ultimately I am proud to be non binary and I’m happy to say that it’s a part of my identity.” – Katie Proctor, any pronouns