A friend of mine, whom I have known for a very long time, recently came out as non-binary.
This, for those who like me had never heard of the term, is a gender description for those of use who choose not to identify as male or female.
For whatever reason. It’s not my business to bother about what bits they might have or not have, or what gender roles they perform or not.
People are not their bodies, and this person whom I have known, respected, and loved for many years is still the same person under the skin, and I’m not going to change my feelings towards them.
Easier said than done when it comes to pronouns. For so long I have called this person with a fabulous pair of boobs “she” and “her”, and it is going to be difficult to change these long habits.
Now it is “they” and “them” and “their”, and I know it on the surface, but not deep down on the trackways of habit when I call up words to come out into the open.
With their help and understanding, I’ll cope. See, it helps that we have the words and usage in place to refer to those whose gender is uncertain, or because we don’t now them, or we cannot tell from their body shapes or names – Jay, Kerry, Sam, I’m peering at you – or whatever. We just say “them/they/their” and it’s not a problem.
I guess it will help when the surgery goes through, but in a wider sense, gender roles and expectations shouldn’t be about body. Why should half of humanity take a back seat in terms of rewards for work, leadership positions, and behaviour expectations?
We’ve seen a lot of changes over the past twenty years or so. Marriage equality, for starters.
My friend recently got their passport changed. In the box marked sex, there is now a third choice available. F, M, X.
I’m comfortable in my body and gender role, but I’m also glad that others who have not been quite so comfortable in the past may now feel that they are as much a part of normal human society as everyone else. Not just in individuals recognising their gender, but in governments and organisations giving them a fair go.
Do you know anyone like this? How do you feel about them?