My name is Jay and my pronouns are they/them.
I am a non-binary transgender person. This means my gender identity falls outside the binary of male and female. From a young age, I rejected many aspects of femininity like the colour pink, dresses and was very much a tomboy. When I first questioned my gender as a teenager, I thought that I may be a transman. However, while I associated closely with the male gender I don’t feel male or want male reproductive organs. I felt like I was broken or defective and didn’t feel like I belonged. Recently I discovered out about non-binary genders and it described me very well. I still do not fully know my gender identity but it falls somewhere between gender neutral and male. Parts of my body feel like they should be male but others feel more neutral.
Non-binary is an umbrella term that encompasses people that identify as anything other than male and female including (but not limited to) agender, transmasculine, transfeminine, gender neutral, androgyne, bigender, trigender, gender fluid, neutrois. It is a valid gender identity and although Western culture has traditionally categorised people as male or female, other cultures had multiple genders (e.g. the Hijras of India, the five genders of Sulawesi, Indonesia and the two-spirited people of North America). The words to describe non-binary genders in western society are relatively new and have led some people to think it is a fad but there have always been non-binary people.
Many (but not all) non-binary people identify as transgender (defined as identifying as a gender different to that assigned at birth). Some non-binary people also experience gender dysphoria (discomfort/distress at the mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity)
Things you can do to support non-binary people
-Accept our identity
Many people expect non-binary people to be androgynous and some are, however, gender expression is incredibly varied. Some are traditionally masculine, some feminine, some have a combination of masculine and feminine expression while others change from day to day. All are valid, if someone says they are non-binary accept it and listen to what they need you to do.
-Gender us correctly (even when we are not there)
Non-binary people may change their name and pronouns. Some use gendered pronouns (he/she) that they most closely identify with others use gender-neutral pronouns (e.g. they, Xe). If you don’t know how to use singular they (which is grammatically correct) or an alternative gender-neutral pronoun, Google it and then use it. It may take a little getting used to. Misgendering (referring to someone using a word that does not reflect the gender with which they identify) can induce significant distress. If you make a mistake correct yourself and move on – don’t turn it into a big deal (we know people make mistakes). Turning it into a big deal makes me and many others feel uncomfortable.
-Don’t ask invasive questions
We are not obliged to discuss our genitals, chromosomes, hormones, surgery or how we have sex with you. It makes us very uncomfortable- would you like to be asked about your genitals especially by someone you just met? There is lots of info online if you want to know more about transitioning and get answers to your questions without making non-binary individuals uncomfortable.