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Another excellent article on non-binary gender identities from Everyday Feminism by Adrian Ballou…
Are you introverted or extroverted?
Do you like coffee or tea?
Are you a Democrat or a Republican?
We humans like to categorize. We automatically put people into one of two boxes, even though sometimes folks can be in both, in between, or somewhere else entirely.
“Two” is a pretty small number of options for how to identify. There are more than two kinds of food. There are way more than two sports people play. There are so many different colors.
Nature has a huge amount of variety. Can you imagine if we only recognized two types of trees? Say, oak and birch.
Then a pine tree comes along, and we’re all like, “Ummmm, nope. Pine trees don’t exist. You’re clearly an oak.”
The gender binary is just as limited. It recognizes only two genders, which erases everyone who doesn’t fit in as solely male or female.
Non-binary erasure is like pretending that pine trees don’t exist. But in actuality, we have been around since the beginning of time.
The world continuously erases our existence, keeping us from our deepest and most joyous selves.
When we internalize prejudice against non-binary people, we are denied access to our whole being.
We all need to be recognized as who we are. It’s a fundamental human need.
Different non-binary people have different experiences of non-binary erasure. After all, the truest generalization you can make about non-binary folks is that we are hugely diverse.
Of course, I can’t speak for all of us. I can tell you some of what I’ve noticed from my perspective as a white, assigned-female-at-birth non-binary person. And I’ll link to some folks who experience different intersecting oppressions from me.
Getting a Sense of the Numbers
Non-binary erasure has some pretty dire impacts.
We are more likely than a binary-identified trans person to:
🌟 Try to kill ourselves (43% non-binary versus 41% binary trans);
🌟 Be harassed by police (31% non-binary versus 21% binary);
🌟 Earn less than $10,000/year (21% non-binary versus 14% binary trans);
🌟 Be assaulted, physically (32% non-binary versus 25% binary) or sexually (15% non-binary versus 9% binary), due to gender bias.
Non-binary folks did have some statistical advantages in this survey (we are more likely to be out at work and less likely to be fired for it – though the rates of harassment, 90%, are the same). Across the board, statistics for trans folks, including non-binary people, are pretty horrifying.
The numbers are only higher for non-binary people of color (who, contrary to popular stereotypes, actually make up a disproportionate amount of non-binary folks).
We also happen to be some of the most creative, glittery, beautiful, and resilient people I have ever met.
Where do these disparities come from? Let’s unpack some examples of non-binary erasure to start figuring it out.
Continue reading this article here at Everyday Feminism: