Beyond Binary

Beyond Binary

The gender binary just doesn't cut it anymore.
Xan M
Xan M
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I never know how to tell people that my favorite color is magenta. I worry about how they will react once I tell them - wonder if they will treat me any differently because of it. I hate when I have to fill out paperwork and magenta is never an option so I have to circle pink because that is what everyone expects from me. I hate when my class gets separated into favorite colors and everyone who loves blue goes to one side and those who love pink go to another but when I get thrown into a group it feels like I don’t quite belong there. And if I feel this way about magenta then how must others feel when their favorite colors are orange or green or even black?

I wish we were only talking about colors here because if we were, then this simple situation would sound ridiculous. In what world would people ever be afraid to say ‘my favorite color isn’t pink, it’s blue’ or ‘my favorite color isn’t pink or blue, it’s actually yellow’? The answer to that question would be this one if you simply replace colors with gender instead.

Gender isn’t binary - not always. No matter how much we want things to be black and white, or in this case blue and pink, it just doesn’t work out that way. The same way that there are hundreds of colors that we can see, there are hundreds of different gender identities and expressions.

It took me a long time to figure this out for myself. My whole life I was given pink clothing, dresses, dolls, told that I needed to know how to cook and clean, that I had to be pretty and skinny, and get boys to like me. There is nothing wrong with any of those things. There is nothing wrong with me for enjoying some of them and rejecting others and continuing to develop myself with or without them. But what is wrong is being limited. What is wrong is being told that since I am a girl, I must not talk or dress or like the things I do. And then when I tried to find solace in the other side of the spectrum, being male, I felt like I was not masculine enough, that I wouldn’t be able to pass as a boy and I was too afraid to try transitioning medically because I wasn’t sure if I was making the right choice. I wasn’t fully able to commit to either gender because neither of them fully expressed how I felt.

The gender binary works for a lot of people so I can’t knock it. What I can say is that it doesn’t work for everyone, including myself. When I first started questioning my gender, I realized that I didn’t want to. I wanted to be binary. I wanted to be normal. When asked the question ‘what is your gender,’ all of my friends could answer it with no hesitation and I was the only one who had to pause and steel myself before saying ‘female’. We look online or turn on our televisions or even just go outside and all we see are binary people.

So it took me a long time to finally be at this point. It has taken me years to be able to admit that I am neither male nor female. It took me years to find a word that describes me and right now that word is genderqueer. I cannot speak for everyone who identifies how I do. There is no way for me to possibly know the experiences of every non-binary person on this planet. But as for myself, I love blue and I love pink. I love to mix them together in different ways and create the most magnificent shades of magenta.

Cover Image Credit: wikipedia.org

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Being Able To Read Comic Books And See Myself In Them Is Even Better

Superheroes aren't just white, able bodied, straight men anymore.

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When the word "superhero" comes into most people's minds, we've traditionally pictured a white, able-bodied man in a spandex costume, saving his city. That norm is quickly changing and here are some examples of that change.

1. The increase of superheroes of color

While their movie counterparts are still dominated by white people, comic books have become more and more racially diverse. There has been a small percentage of POC superheroes for quote sometime now, but comic book makers are coming out with a whole slew of new characters who are racially diverse. As a Filipina, I was over the moon when I heard about Marvels newest superhero, Wave. There are almost no Filipino superheroes in mainstream comic books, so I hope that Wave will eventually make her way to the MCU!

2. Disabled superheroes exist

This isn't a well-known fact, but some of your favorite superheroes are disabled. There are superheroes who are blind, paralyzed, deaf, have learning disabilities, etc., but it doesn't stop them from fighting the bad guys! A good number of disabled superheroes rely on their disabilities as their superpower or to increase their abilities. I think that it's important to show that being a superhero isn't just something that is exclusive to able-bodied people.

3. Move over princesses, little girls are now looking up to superheroes

I'm not saying princesses are being abandoned entirely, but I've seen more little girls running around the toy section of Target, waving around action figures and superhero masks. I'm kind of jealous because I certainly didn't get to do that when I was their age. With the increase of women in crime-fighting roles, it's easy to see why a younger generation of girls is becoming more interested in superheroes. It's empowering to see that these female characters can be confident leaders with the ability to defend themselves from danger, not waiting for a guy to save them.

4. The new age of superheroes is LGBTQA+ and proud!

Alongside the rise of new POC superheroes also comes the rise in openly queer superheroes. There has been a history of queer superheroes, but almost none of them are mainstream or their queer identity is not widely known. Many younger superheroes are being written as queer and maybe it's a reflection of how younger generations are more open about their sexuality?

I think that this increase in diversity across all matters is something that our society needs and has needed for a long time. Being able to see a strong character who also shares a similar background to you is inspiring and is a reminder that you can be just as strong and confident as your favorite superhero!

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