Friday, December 18, 2015

Non-binary genders: Beyond male and female

(Author’s note: This article is the third in a series on the topic of gender. Unless you are very familiar with the transgender and genderqueer communities, I would recommend starting with the first article. Otherwise, you may end up very confused. 

Also, many of the creators of the videos I discuss in this post have disabled embedding. I highly encourage you to watch the videos as you read the article.) 

In my first article on gender, I explained that someone’s internal sense of their own gender, known as their gender identity, doesn’t have to match their biological sex.

This article takes that idea one step further. Some people don’t identify as strictly male or female. They refer to themselves as non-binary or genderqueer. Many would say their gender falls somewhere between male and female.

Very few people have heard of non-binary gender identities.

Several non-binary people have shared their experiences on YouTube. I will introduce you to some of them today. Many of them use “they” to refer to themselves instead of he or she. When appropriate, I will use the language the individuals I am discussing prefer.

Many non-binary people say, “assigned female at birth” or “assigned male at birth” instead of referencing biological sex or physical anatomy.

Berry is genderfluid, and their gender changes between male, female and in-between on different days.  They said they feel particularly bad on days when their gender doesn’t match their biological sex, which is female.

Their video is available on their YouTube channel. 

Another YouTuber who identifies as genderfluid has the username Seadresa. He prefers male pronouns when dressed in male clothes. She prefers female pronouns when dressed in female clothes. 

When she is presenting as female, she uses the name Grace. I could not find his male name on his channel. He is biologically male and his video can be seen on YouTube. 

Chandler identifies as agender, which means they don’t have a gender. Like many non-binary people, it took them a long time to understand their gender. For a while, Chandler, who was assigned female at birth, thought they were male, and then adopted the label genderfluid. 

As they say in their video, it can be confusing for them to try to explain their gender to those around them. 

In my first article on gender, I explained how everyone has a list of clothing, personality traits and interests they understand to be boy things or girl things. Some non-binary people identify with things on both lists. 

Others, like Chandler, have eliminated the lists in their head altogether. They say you should present yourself however you feel comfortable, regardless of where it falls on other people’s lists.

In my second article on gender, I explained how transgender people often experience gender dysphoria, a discomfort created by the difference between how they understand themselves and how others see them.

Many non-binary people experience gender dysphoria as well. On the channel, “Diary of a Genderfluid,” several people discuss their personal experiences. One of them, Ezra, explains how frustrating non-binary dysphoria can be.

Non-binary experiences can vary considerably from person to person. There are many, many labels genderqueer people use to describe their gender identity.

If you would like to learn more about the topic, all of the people discussed in this article have other, more in-depth videos on gender and other aspects of their life.

As always, I encourage you to do your own research on the stories I cover here. This post was meant to be an introduction to the topic, and there is much more to discover.

Personally, I identify as genderfluid. I plan to write a post about my own gender experiences soon. 

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