I Sat Down With A Non-Binary Gendered Student, Here's What I Learned
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Politics and Activism

I Sat Down With A Non-Binary Gendered Student, Here's What I Learned

What is gender non-binary?

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I Sat Down With A Non-Binary Gendered Student, Here's What I Learned
One Love, All Equal

Most people today think there are only two genders: male and female. The fact that there are some people who identify as neither is still a foreign concept. To help shed some light on non-binary genders, I interviewed my friend Jacob, who is non-binary. Please note that they do not represent everyone who is non-binary.

First off: what is a non-binary gender?

So a non-binary gender is any gender that isn't strictly male or female. The first thing to understand is there's a difference between sex and gender: sex is what they write on your birth certificate. Gender is how you identify or see yourself.

What are the pronouns used?

I use they/them/theirs pronouns. But there are a lot of different pronouns that non-binary people can use. I know some people who use ze/zir. Other people that are non-binary may be comfortable with using she/her/hers or he/him/his pronouns, or use multiple sets of pronouns interchangeably.

Is it the same as being genderfluid?

I don't identify as genderfluid. Genderfluid is a term that means that the gender you identify as changes either over time or situationally. There's also another term, genderflux; flux means how strongly you identify with a specific gender changes.

How many people know what non-binary is?

Maybe ten percent of campus? I think that now it's become some kind of "interesting thing" to be trans, or non-binary, or gender-queer. But a lot of people still don't know what different terms mean.

Is it represented at all in the media?

I mean, I haven't seen any nonbinary representation, but I don't keep up with the media, so I don't think I'm the right person to answer that.

Do you think it's important to have non-binary characters in the media?

I think representation is definitely important, but I feel like it's more important for people to be knowledgeable and understanding in their day-to-day interactions; doing things like remembering someone's pronouns, and remember not to use gendered language (words like dude and girl) to discribe someone, unless they tell you it's okay. Also, personally, it makes me comfortable to have gender-neutral bathrooms.

Do you think people's view of non-binary people is mostly positive or negative?

I think most people just don't know what non-binary is, so generally I don't think people have an opinion. I've seen people who have a strong opinion on whether "they" should be a singular pronoun, and to them I say: "You say 'they' all the time." Once you practice a bit, using they/them should be fairly easy.

What do you want people to know about non-binary genders?

I think people should know that there are a lot more than two genders. And there can be as many genders as there are people. But what's important to know is we all experience gender in different ways. It's really important to respect how someone identifies, even if you don't understand it. Also, another thing to know is that people can have more than one gender, which may include binary genders, non-binary genders, or a mixture of both (words like bigender and trigender are examples of terms that a person who identifies with multiple genders might use).

What can I do to help non-binary people?

Saying that makes us sound like wounded puppies! I don't think anyone ever is helpful when they go out to "help" people from a position of being superior. Like, we don't need help; we need you to be a good ally.

So, how can I be a good ally?

Definitely remember the things I said before with using the correct pronouns and acknowledging people and their genders. It's also important to do your own research, and not to label people with terms they don't use. It's okay to ask your friends questions, as long as you do it in a respectful way, but it's also important to know that they have the right to not answer any question you might ask. The internet is a great resource: you can look up non-binary people or YouTubers.

Thank you so much for your time! I really appreciate it. Any closing words?

If you want to learn more about LGBTQIAP+ identities, everyone is welcome to come to UNH Alliance meetings. Alliance meets on Tuesday nights from 7:30-9 pm in MUB 145. Alliance is a discussion-based group and simply asks that all who attend be respectful of others' identities and ask their questions in a respectful way.

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