Krystle talks about International Non-Binary Awareness Week

This week has marked international non-binary awareness week: celebrated since 2012 it is a time of celebrating the non-binary identity, people, activism and educating those that may not be familiar with its meaning.

Thankfully, there is growing recognition of what it means to be non-binary, a recent poll in the U.S found that ¼ of LGBTQ+ people identify as non-binary, amounting to approximately 1 million people. If you keep up to date with celebrity ‘goings on’ you may have noticed many influencers and stars disclosing their non-binary status (see: Sam Smith, Ruby Rose, Demi Lovato, Indya Moore). Despite the recent growing number of non-binary folk, it is by no means a new phenomenon. In fact, the gender binary {the notion of two distinct and separate genders} is an entirely western ideology that was forced upon the collectivist societies and cultures. Eastern, indigenous and first nation people did not share these ideas and celebrated non-binary people. There’s a rich millennia old history of non-binary folk, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is a fad, as often reported in the media.

So, what does being non-binary mean? The first thing to recognize is that non-binary is not a third gender and will not feel or look the same for everyone that uses the label. It helps to think of gender as a spectrum, with female and male at either end, many non-binary folks will describe there gender as somewhere between the two, and this can be a static or changing. Some non-binary people do not identify with gender at all, it is a mute issue for them and not part of what defines them.

Non-binary is often an identity under the trans umbrella, but again not all non-binary folks want to identify as transgender. It is a very individual internal sense of gender/lack of gender. There’s also a misconception that non-binary people will present (dress and express themselves) in an androgenous manner, this is not always the case, and very often they may present in very feminine or masculine ways. Cutting through societies expectations is one of the incredible ways non-binary folk are gifting us all with the freedom to be our unique selves.

So, pronouns. Firstly, they are nothing we should fear. Many non-binary people use they/them pronouns ie: “They are a wonderful person”, “them over there at the bar”. We may not be used to using they/them pronouns, but I can vouch it gets much easier with practice. Language is constantly evolving, and we generally adapt without much thought in other areas. Using the correct pronouns has been shown to increase wellbeing and is generally a kindness we should extend to all people. Some non-binary people use they/she or they/he this means they don’t mind either but using they/them can be really affirming, so mix it up and make your enby friend know you see them as who they are. Oh, enby is another term for non-binary folks, it the phonetic spelling of NB (non-binary). Occasionally other pronouns are used such as Xe, there is a huge push to normalise asking what another person’s pronouns are, so if in doubt, introduce yourself with your pronouns and ask what the other persons are.

At Endometriosis south coast we have made it our duty to recognize, support and elevate the stories of all people with endo and this always includes our non-binary endo siblings. We appreciate the intersection of minority and marginalized identities with endo can make the fight even harder for support. It is our promise to our enby endo warriors that you will always receive the support and representation you deserve. We see you, we are here for you, and we celebrate you and we welcome your thoughts on where we can do more.

Krystle Issitt

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