I suppose that the next thing to do is explain what all the Non-Binary genders are. Facebook may now have a write-in section for the non-binary, but just last February they were offering 51 different gender options. Now they have the write-in and a few preferred pronoun options. In the time that they did have 51 options, there was enough notoriety and articles written about it that those were the articles with the best descriptions of the non-binary genders that I could find. One such article is here.
I’m not going to spell out all of the non-binary genders because I am sure that I will miss some and the linked article covers the 51 from Facebook pretty well. Let’s face it, the bigger issue that the binary population has with all the acknowledging the non-binary genders is that they “have to be different” and not so much that no one knows what the genders are. Different means that I now have no idea how to relate to you and that part is important when making contact with a new person. There are many options here too.
Some of the bigger confusion, as I have attempted to research all this is that many terms overlap or seem to mean the same thing and many groups disagree with the terminology, thus creating confusion for those of us on the outside of it. For example, finding a good gender neutral pronoun is difficult to do. This was covered in May and included that many groups are still in disagreement over which term to use. Most of us will have to just pick one and go with it. It’s kind of like when Blu-Ray and HD DVD came out. You had to buy the one you thought would last. I apologize if the comparison is offensive. I had chosen ze and hir. They seemed to be the most popular of the options I saw. I still find them a little awkward to use but I try when it is applicable.
Another point of confusion with so many genders around is: how many bathrooms are we going to have? Should we be concerned about who goes to what bathroom? Doesn’t that pose a risk to people? If so, which people? And to that, I will refer you to this TEDtalk about a man who helps teenagers become whatever gender they wish to be. It’s a great talk and I was stunned by the suicide rate that the speaker mentions among the transgendered. This is a problem, and it’s a problem of acceptance all the way down to the little things, like which bathroom to use.
All of these little things serve to make interactions with the non-binary population awkward for those of us who are cis-gendered (another term for binary), but there is so much worse out there than awkward. We must open our minds to the reality that the people of the world do not boil down to two groups of people that can be sorted by sex or gender. We must realize that those who do not fit into our neat little categories are not subversive or perverted. They are identifying themselves honestly instead of trying to be what we want them to be. Let us take their truth and acknowledge it and not squabble over which bathroom to use. Personally, I hope for more single stalled bathrooms and whoever needs to go can just go. None of this has to be difficult. We make it difficult when we don’t stop for a minute and try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
For help with that, try reading Fragments of Gender which is a collection of essays by Lisa Lees, a non-binary person.
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