This article starts off really well.
“You’d be surprised how many people ask me about my crotch.”
Special snowflakes always believe that other people are obsessing over their genitals. We’re really not. Don’t flatter yourself.
“It’s a lot. I have had people ask me which “parts” I have, how they look, what I plan to do with them. I don’t run around with a sign that says “ask me about my crotch,” but as soon as I bring up my gender identity to certain people, all of a sudden it appears on the discussion table like a highly inappropriate Seamless order. Yes, even in New York. Yes, even among seemingly “progressive” people. And it stems from the fact that most people you meet simply do not know much about non-binary gender identities. It usually goes like this:
“So you don’t feel like a boy or girl?”
“But you wear makeup.”
“But you’re not a woman.”
I don’t know…if someone told me they didn’t identify as male or female, I wouldn’t ask questions about what they plan on doing with their genitals. This doesn’t even sound real. If anyone has actually done this, I’d say they’re deliberately being an idiot.
“I have had this exact conversation at least once a week, every week since coming out publicly in November. It’s not one I mind; it just gets repetitive, and occasionally a little insulting if the conversation leads to questions like, “So you’re just trying to be different?” With trans visibility increasing more quickly than ever, non-binary gender identity is coming into focus, too.
And it’s often misunderstood.
On Tuesday, The New York Times Magazine published a brief etymology of the words “they” and “them” as pronouns for people who identify as genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, gender-noncomforming, and other genders. The piece is another stride in acknowledging those who do not feel they fit on the current male/female binary—and another piece in the growing conversation surrounding gender in society.
As someone who identifies with gender-neutral pronouns, I was amped to see the Times bring the discussion onto the radar of readers who may not know there are even people out there who don’t identify as male or female. I’ve been out for four months, but I’ve known I’m not cisgender for the last five or so years (probably longer, if I’m honest, depending on how you interpret some odd childhood habits).”
Maybe the reason nonbinary genders aren’t well understood is because they don’t make any sense. Everyone can tell she’s female. This is what she looks like:
She’s a regular, gender-conforming feminine woman. She attempts to explain what she means by non-binary, but her explanation really falls short.
“Aren’t you just born with your gender?
While gender and sex are frequently used interchangeably, the two do not mean the same thing. Your sex relates to your biology, both physiological and anatomical, which often influences how you’re treated in society (example: the enforcing of gender roles), but it is not the same as gender.
According to the World Health Organization, gender is “the socially constructed characteristics of women and men.” It goes on to emphasize the importance of sensitivity to “different identities that do not necessarily fit into binary male and female sex categories.”
So, she actually knows what sex and gender are! She has female biology, and she understands what “sex” means, so surely she understands that her sex is female? She also understands that gender is a social construct regarding the characteristics of men and women. She admits to being feminine, which is the gender role given to females, and yet somehow she is still non-binary?
“What’s the difference between a non-binary and a binary identity?
The gender binary separates those who identify as male or female, simple as that. Non-binary genders, however, don’t fit neatly within these two—they can be a combination of male and female, a fluid back-and-forth, or totally outside of the binary. Cisgender people, on the other hand, are folks whose identities align with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Note: “Non-binary” is an imperfect catchall for any gender outside of female and male, but it’s what I’ll primarily use in this rundown for simplicity’s sake.
Does this mean you don’t look female or male?
A common misconception is that all non-binary people are androgynous, but that isn’t the case. The way you present yourself (gender expression) and the way you identify can be connected, but they are not necessarily dependent on one another.”
She says people can be a “combination of male and female,” but male and female are biological categories, not genders, so the only way you can be a combination of male or female is if you are intersex. She’s not talking about intersex though, she’s talking about people who “identify” as not being their actual sex. Of course, as she explains, non-binary isn’t about your gender presentation, either. You can be a female who is totally feminine and still be non-binary! How? I don’t know, just by saying so, I guess? There is no actual reason given.
“I do not identify as a woman, but the above photos show you that I present fairly feminine, meaning most people assume I am a cisgender woman until I inform them otherwise. I keep my hair long because I prefer a lob cut. I don’t shave my legs. I wear dresses once in a while, and I play with makeup every day because it’s literally my job (I’m the Beauty Editor of GoodHousekeeping.com).
At the same time, I know people who identify as genderqueer, agender, genderfluid, and non-binary who have beards and wax their legs. I know others who sculpt their faces with makeup and prefer suits. I know some who wear no makeup at all and prefer short hair—all sorts of expressions that depend wholly on the individual.”
Cisgender means a person whose gender aligns with their sex, right? So, as a feminine woman, she actually IS cisgender. But no, because you can be a female who conforms to the female gender role and still not be cisgender, just by claiming that you aren’t. What is this elusive part of her that is not female?
“But how do you use “they,” “their,” and “they” in reference to a single person?
Using these words can feel a little odd at first. When I came out to my team at work, I gave them examples to clarify how my preferred pronouns are used to make the transition easier.
Example 1: Catherine is a great musician, they should start a band.
Example 2: I can’t get a hold of Jesse—can somebody call them for me?
Example 3: Peter loves their dog so much.”
Teaching other people to talk in weird ways just to confirm your nonsensical identity. Narcissistic much?
“So…which bathroom do you use?
Well, I would prefer to safely use whichever one is most readily available, as would most people, though certain lawmakers and general assholes would love to see that outlawed. When forced to choose between a men’s room and a women’s room, I typically use the women’s restroom because it’s the one that will garner the least amount of attention, negative or otherwise.
Everyone is different, of course, but the general consensus is that trans and non-binary people would just like to use the bathroom, period, with no bullying, threats of violence, or laws imposing our ability to do so.”
Gee, you use the women’s washroom? I WONDER WHY.
“Is it ever okay to ask non-binary people about “which parts” they have?
Just gonna go with a hard “no” on this one, though it’s shocking how many people think it’s okay to ask someone about what’s going on in their pants. It would be weird if someone at a party spontaneously asked you about your junk, right? So maybe don’t ask your trans and non-binary friends and acquaintances what’s up with theirs. Thanks in advance.”
I don’t even know why anyone would ask her about her genitals, since it’s perfectly obvious to everyone that she’s female, but if people are asking her questions about her genitals, they’re probably mocking her.
Non-binary genders are one of the reasons I reached peak trans. You can be a female who conforms perfectly to the gender role assigned to females, and still identify as non-female. Why? Who knows.
I’m more fucking non-binary than she is. I have short hair on my head, my leg hair is full grown, I wear a mix of feminine and masculine clothes, and once in a while I show up somewhere and realize I’m wearing the same outfit as one of the guys. I don’t make people call me “they” because I don’t have any delusions that I’m super special and need special attention. I use female pronouns because I’m female. No matter what outfit I have on or how I feel about myself, I remain female.
So does this lady.