The reality of life as a non binary person is that of non-existence. That statement might seem dramatic, yet it is true. Certainly in some, if not all, areas of existence. The simple act of going to the toilet is one of deciding who you are, male…or female? Will my appearance get me thrown out of one? Do I feel comfortable using the other?
Sometimes, or in fact most of the time, the world around us insists on a binary gender system. On a system of male / female. Therefore a non binary person is often forced to play the role of male or female. They are made to assume the feminine or masculine appearance that most closely aligns with the way they feel or want to be regarded. Can you see the difficulty here, for someone who is neither male nor female? In our society there is no real way of presenting as neither, every person it seems simply must be categorised as one or the other. There is no grey in between.
A non binary employee is forced to change in the disabled toilet so as to “not upset” other staff members. They don’t have a male body, nor do they present as female. There is no space for them.
A non binary person is not welcomed at either the male nor the female sports teams. They were assigned male so “have the advantage over women” yet they do not look “male enough” with their make up and skirt to join the men’s team.
A non binary person hold the desperate urge to pee because they do not feel safe in the men’s or women’s and there is not disabled access.
A non binary person stares at the form in front of them, there is no box for their gender. No option for their title. No acknowledgement of their identity.
There are days when it truly feels as though I (we…the enby population) are non existent. There are days when I have the energy to fight for my identity, and other days when I accept that a binary gender is just what I have to deal with.
However, when we discuss other “in betweens” we seem so much more ready to accept that the world is not black and white. A white person may be half middle eastern. A black person may be half Caucasian. We readily accept that addiction isn’t as black and white as a choice to continue, that poverty isn’t just caused by overspending or unemployment. We are fed the lines “it isn’t that black and white” from a young age.
And yet, here I am, trying to convince you and the world just that. Gender isn’t black and white, it’s just not that simple. Take some time to consider the ways in which you recognise the grey areas of existence. Realise that there is no easy black and white answers. And come to terms with the reality that maybe, just maybe, you are the one who needs to change your thinking.