Today is not so different to any other day. Though I wish it was. Today I heard the sentiment “why would you use gender neutral pronouns if you dress feminine? If you wear make up and do your nails you should be her/she”.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard it. I assume it will not be the last. So let’s get some things straight….
GENDER DOES NOT EQUATE TO THE CLOTHES A PERSON WEARS.
Let me ask you a question….have you ever seen a woman in trousers? or a man with long hair? Have you ever questioned Steve Tyler’s gender (you know, the guy from Aerosmith) because he wear nail varnish? What about Paul O’Grady…he wore a dress and heels on a regular occasion did you ever think he was a woman? Of course not. Because he told you he’s a man.
You see, gender identity and gender expression are separate things entirely. If I say I’m a man and put a dress on, I’m still a man. If I tell you I’m a woman and wear short hair and board shorts, I’m still a woman. Therefore….when I tell you I’m non binary, and wear…whatever the f*ck I want….guess what? I’m still not a man or a woman.
It is certainly true that there exist non binary people who present themselves in an androgynous way. I would fall into this category. I experience strong dysphoria around my body looking feminine in any way (breasts for example). And in order to feel comfortable with myself I wear a binder and clothes that de-feminise my shape. However this isn’t the case for every enby. A very good friend of mine is an enby and pretty much the most FEMME person I’ve ever met. They love makeup, pink, glitter, sweet smells….everything that you might initially equate to being “girly”. (I hate attributing anything to *male* or *female*). But the fact that they present in a feminine way doesn’t negate their gender identity which is that of being non binary. Another friend of mine self identifies as a woman, but like me, prefers to buy and wear men’s clothes and underwear.
Do you see? My gender isn’t tied into how I look; on a day when I have make up and a bra on (very rare yes…) I am still not a woman. ask them
The next time someone tells you their pronouns and you think they’re wrong, the next time you think you see a woman in the men’s toilets and tell them to get out, the next time you think you see a man queuing for the women’s changing room and tell them the men’s is next door…don’t. Stop and consider this….maybe you are wrong.
Maybe, just maybe, the person you are questioning knows their gender identity better than you do.