This is the first in a series of posts which I plan on writing and posting every Monday. Feel free to stop by next week for our next installment “Agender means No gender.”
When many people think of the word Transgender, they think of someone who has or will transition to the opposite sex. Most people don’t realize that there are many other identities that also fit under this umbrella term, known as Non-Binary genders. There have been examples of this throughout history with the Centuries old Indian Hijras or the Native American Two-spirits.
Today however, people are identifying with many more labels that are less rooted in culture and more rooted in self discovery. These labels explain where people fall on the spectrum, being anything from completely neutral (Neutrois, or Androgyne) or being outside the gender spectrum all together (Agender or Maverique).
When Non Binary genders come into the Transgender discussion, some people get upset, and say that they don’t exist, but that just isn’t true. There are many examples of Non Binary people existing long before any of us started using these labels. The science is still kind of lacking in this area, but people didn’t really start using these labels until the 90s when some of these labels were coined. Only in recent years has visibility for the identity become a thing, so no wonder there aren’t 10 year studies and dissertations on the topic. But history is on our side, and each and every Non Binary person is an example of its existence.
Non Binary people are much like other Transgender people. They experience Gender dysphoria, a term the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) vol. 5 states as a person being uncomfortable with their body, surrounding ones gender. The only difference is that they experience dysphoria a little differently. For example, a female born person may be uncomfortable with their breasts or their voice. They may wish their chest was flat and their voice was more masculine, however not masculine enough to be perceived as male. They may not want to be Male, but want more masculine characteristics.
They also experience discrimination in a lot of the same ways trans people do, possibly even more so, as it is such an unknown identity spectrum. They struggle with getting health care, and finding jobs or adequate housing, just like trans people do. The difference here is that even some people in the LGBTQ+ community do not accept them.
Unfortunately, Non-Binary genders have been painted to be nonexistent, and somehow linked to attention seeking behavior, due to a vocal minority of people, through YouTube, and Tumblr. At one point in time, pronouns such as Xir/Xim were tried out in the community instead of the gendered He/She. This was quickly made a meme by mainstream media, and created further stigma around the topic of gender.
Now, as Non-Binary people strive to educate people, they are trying to change the way people view them. They fight the stereotypes, and work towards relieving the stigma around their identities. Support has been rallied by other LGBT people and YouTubers such as UpperCaseChase1 (a trans man) and Kat Blaque (a trans POC woman). A community is beginning to grow and bud, with a whole gender tag being produced by Ashley Wylde, a Non-Binary activist, which opened up the conversation to gender expression. Hopefully in the future, Non-Binary Identities will be accepted and treated fairly, like everyone should.