In this episode we’re gonna be talking about being non binary. In particular, what it means to be non binary.
Because I have spoken with a bunch of folks about this and I see it pop up so much online, with folks sharing how they aren’t sure if they are non binary or not and what is the “criteria” when it comes to being non binary.
Being non binary is about living outside of binary norms and stereotypes. To be non binary is to simply be yourself. And that means there are limitless possibilities of how you can show up as you!
There is no right or wrong way to be non binary. There is only your way and that is perfect.
Please feel free to press play or download to have a listen!
Why decide to live outside binary gender norms?
Now I get it. The most common narrative attached to being non binary is one of presenting in an androgynous way.
And for many non binary folks, this is a really affirming way for them to present.
I know for myself, before I even had the language to express my gender identity that I wanted to look androgynous. Well more so I just didn’t want to look like a “woman”. Whatever that means.
Because seriously, any way we look that is perceived in a gendered way is only based on the stereotypes that we are taught by society.
If we weren’t taught that certain clothes and hairstyles were associated with a specific gender identity, there wouldn’t be an issue!
The world is extremely caught up in this binary system and cis folks seem to be dedicated to labelling people based off their genitals.
And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who thinks that’s ploppin weird!
But seeing as we can’t escape these stereotypes and labels, it’s so common for non binary folks to want to be perceived as something other than their assigned sex at birth.
And as I said, for many years this was really affirming for me too.
Now I’m at a point where I really don’t care. I accept being called whatever I’m called based on the situation I’m in because I’m a fucking chameleon!
The poor cis with their limited views of the gender binary can never comprehend who I am.
Of course, this is not everyone’s experience. And it’s important to know that whatever your experience of yourself may be it is valid.
Labels aside, everyone’s experience is unique and 100% valid
We actually spoke about labels back in Episode 60! There are so many folks out there who are questioning their gender identities and that can be both exciting and scary.
It can be really overwhelming trying to understand and language how you feel within yourself.
If you are someone who is exploring how you want to express yourself, know that there is no wrong way to do it.
Now there are gonna be folks out there with many differing views on this. Regardless of what someone else says, just know that any way that you-do-you that helps you feel good in yourself is perfect. After all, its not about them, its about YOU!
You do not have to be androgynous to be non binary. You do not have to change your name, use they/them pronouns or change how you present to be non binary.
There is a lot of gate keeping within the trans and gender diverse community around what it means to be a certain identity.
And just because some people have a certain view on what being non binary means to them does not mean that you have to align yourself with that view.
Some non binary folks want to present more masc or more femme. They may start hormones or have affirming surgeries to help them present in a way that feels affirming to them.
That’s great for them. Just know that this is not the only way to be non binary.
Cis folks aside, there are still a few gate keepers out there
We actually visited this way back in Episode 18 so feel free to check it out!
For starters, you don’t need to be dysphoric to be valid in your identity.
There are certain folks out there who will say that you’re only truly trans or gender diverse if you have dysphoria.
This is not true. This is just some nasty projecting from these people to help them validate themselves and their experiences. And this is something that myself and so many other folks have received from folks.
It happens to me a lot! It’s especially and issue when binary trans folks gate keep other peoples identities. Because I think they can’t understand what it’s like being non binary. I think hey themselves are ascribing to the gender binary.
It’s not ok. You don’t have to be anything other than yourself and that is enough.
Does some of this resonate with you? Beginning to question can be an exciting and fulfilling time!
If you’re someone that’s questioning whether or not they may be non binary, know that you’re not alone and there are a bunch of things you can do in your exploration to help you learn more about yourself and how you want to feel within yourself.
Your pronouns can be YOUR choice!
One of the first things most folks begin to do is experiment with different pronouns. This is a great place to start.
There are so many options available for you. From the more commonly used they/them pronouns to neopronouns like Thon/Thons/Thonself, Xe/Xem/Xyrs, E/Em/Ems just to name a few.
I’ll link to the site where I found these as well as a heap of others, along with the origins of where these neopronouns came from.
Pronouns can take time to figure out. And even if you do discover ones that you like, it doesn’t mean you have to stick with them, if in the future you find others that you may resonate with.
Interestingly, while I was researching neopronouns and came across Thon/Thons/Thonself I realise that I feel quite drawn to them! Enough so that I’ll be exploring using them as an alternative to they/them.
I’ve been using they/them pronouns for about 5years now too. And it just shows that when we find new language, how it can further affirm our understanding of ourselves.
Your name can be YOUR choice!
Another common step is top try out a new name that isn’t your given name. It will be a name that makes you feel more comfortable and resonates with you and your gender identity.
Naming yourself can be fun. But it’s also not always easy. And that’s ok.
You can try out new names that may sound similar to your given name, use the same starting letter or have a gender neutral equivalent.
I see a lot of folks reaching out and asking for help with finding a name for themselves, which can also be helpful.
It’s totally ok to try out new names as well. Don’t think that because you try out one name, that you are then stuck with it.
Try as many different names as you like until you feel you have one that helps you feel totally you.
And if you want to take these steps further you can change the clothes you wear as well.
Because depending on the clothes you wear, you’re likely going to be read a certain way. This is because people ascribe gender identity to clothes.
Seriously though, don’t even get me started on how ridiculous this can be. Clothes do not have a gender do not require a particular gender expression for you to wear them.
Wear whatever the plop you want that helps you feel good about being you.
Try different combinations and styles. There is no wrong way to express yourself through what you wear.
Questioning can be great and fulfilling! But unfortunately, not everyone can feel safe doing so
Now I get that not all folks are safe to express themselves openly. It is a privilege to have the safety to do that without being harmed.
And not everyone has this privilege.
If you are unable to change these things about yourself due to your life circumstances or where you live, please know that it doesn’t change how valid you are within your identity.
You are perfectly you regardless of how you look or are perceived from the outside.
And although you may not be able to express yourself openly in real life, that doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself or explore your identity online.
I know it’s not the same, but there is a community for you out there friend. You’re not alone! So I encourage you to reach out through online avenues to connect with other folks that share a similar experience to you.
Because I 100% guarantee that there are other people sharing in your experience.”-
And if you are safe to explore ways you want to express yourself but don’t know where to start, these same online spaces may be perfect for you too.
Seeing other people share their experiences and steps they have taken can help give you options and ideas to try as well.
Also there are great spaces online where you can connect with other folks who can help you feel affirmed as well as help you try out new names and pronouns.
We’ve touched on a lot today.
First we looked at what it means to be non binary. And that being non binary is not about androgyny. It is about removing the limits that are placed on us based on our genitals and living and expressing ourselves in the ways that feel right for us.
Secondly we had a look at some things you can do as you explore how you express yourself. This included the pronouns or neopronouns you choose to use, how you present outwardly through your clothes and style as well as the name you may want to call yourself.
And finally we explored how you can express yourself the safest way you can. Whether that be in your every day or through online avenues. But that regardless, there are online spaces where you can meet other folks like yourself, sharing similar experiences.