Image is of a black, purple, white, and yellow flag for non-binary awareness week.

Guest Post: Non-Binary Visibility Week

guest post non-binary non-binary awareness Jul 08, 2024

Guest post by Kalyn DaSilva 


I am pleased to introduce you to people whose lived experiences will help you better understand what it is like to be transgender.


Each year, we celebrate Non-Binary People's Day on July 14, and the week surrounding that is Non-Binary Awareness Week, or as Kalyn likes to call it, Non-Binary Visibility Week. Non-Binary People's Day was first observed in 2012, and in 2020, it expanded. The week was created in direct response to the lack of recognition and understanding of Non-Binary people.  


I met Kalyn at church and have enjoyed getting to know them, and I hope you will as well.


Meet Kalyn 


If I had received an email four years ago asking to write a post for Non-Binary Awareness Week, or as I prefer to call it, Visibility Week, I probably would have thrown up, to be quite honest. The thought of sharing with the world my thoughts, feelings, and experiences regarding my gender would have been an absolute no-go without thought.

You see, I “came out” as queer when I was 14 years old, so coming out wasn’t new to me.


As a queer person, you experience some kind of “coming out” every time your sexual orientation is somehow brought into the conversation.


My gender identity felt like a whole different beast. I didn’t even know that genders outside of the binary exist until I started my Masters in Social Work program back in 2018. When I did, I researched it obsessively. I wanted to learn more because I had always felt different in my body. I live in a larger body, and I would always attribute my discomfort to that, but when I learned about Non-Binary identities in social work school, something in my brain clicked.


Slowly I started “trying out” new pronouns; first she/they, then they/she, and finally transitioning to using they/them pronouns. It’s not uncommon for non-binary (and trans) folks to change pronouns and names, especially when they are first coming out.


How does one know what feels right until they experience it? A person trying out new names and pronouns is almost like buying a new car; you have to test drive it before you make a decision.

It is difficult to describe the experience of knowing what is “right.” It just is. I can tell you about the butterflies in my stomach I would get when someone would use they/them pronouns for me when I first came out or the nausea I still get when someone misgenders me, but until you experience it for yourself, it’s hard to understand.


I don’t expect anyone to understand, and despite not understanding, I do expect respect.

In my experience, and in a lot of other non-binary peoples’ experience, respect is often lacking. The comment I get most often is, “I just can’t get over using a plural they.” The reality is that the word “they” has been used in its singular form as a pronoun for over 600 years. According to The Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the singular they in written writing to describe a person was first published back in 1375 (OED, n.d.). This suggests that singular they was likely used in spoken language long before that.

Mistakes happen. I joke that at the beginning of this journey, I made mistakes because, for the first 22 years of my life, I used she/her pronouns. I never expect someone to get it right 100% of the time, but I do hope that everyone in my life at least tries.





An Ode to Those Who Don’t Feel Pride
By Kalyn DaSilva

You wake up in the morning
realizing it's a brand new day!
And then you look in the mirror thinking
"shit it's a brand new day"

This is an ode to those who
don't feel like they belong in the
skin they were born in.

Who are told that their
gender is not valid.
That the gender they
assigned to you at birth
is the only gender that exists.

An ode to those who shutter
at the mere thought of being
Answering to miss and ma'am
and women and ladies,
when all you want to be is
a person;
a human
Or hey, maybe a
gender neutral monarch
every once in a while.

This is for the enbies
that are told their pronouns are wrong.
That "they" is only plural.
Or better yet, that
you are just merely an object.
No pronouns needed
just "it" or "that" or "thing.''

An ode to the trans kids
who have no support.
Who don't have access to the resources
they need to feel comfortable
in their skin;
who hurt their bodies because it feels like
the only option.

For all trans and non-binary people
who have lost their lives.
Who have taken their lives
because the pain of existing became too much.
For those that feel
trapped in a glass closet
out to some but still not enough
to be who they are.
One side banging on the glass
begging you to come out.
The other trying to hide you
with a curtain.

For everyone in the community who cannot
go enjoy a night out at a club
without fearing that they will
be the next victim of a hate crime.

But one day
I hope that you find yourself
looking in the mirror
Proud of the skin you're in.
Proud of the body that has
protected you through all hard things.

I hope that when you experience hate
you encounter love 10 times more.

I hope that the
stares and questions don’t
hurt like they used to,
and pride comes in larger waves than
fear and shame.



Kalyn DaSilva (they/them) is a Boston North Shore native living in Southwest New Hampshire with their dog Summit. They are a Social Worker who is passionate about working with the LGBTQIA+ Community. When not working, you can find them hiking mountains or baking.



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