Guest post by Ember Richardson Arlynx.
It is my pleasure 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. Non-Binary People’s Day was first observed in 2012 and has since expanded to a week. The purpose is to celebrate non-binary people and their communities. It’s a time “to encourage other people and organizations to recognize and uplift non-binary people, and a call for everyone to work to make society more welcoming and supportive for non-binary people” (The List).
My oldest child, Ember, is non-binary, and I’ve asked them to share what being non-binary means to them and why having more awareness is important. It’s my honor to introduce you to them during Non-binary Awareness week.
When did you first know that you were non-binary?
When I was in middle school, I stumbled upon a small community and read either a TumBlog or Wiki Page that had a bunch of information. I hadn’t really considered gender before, and so I started thinking about it. It just made sense, you know? Growing up digitally but pre-smartphone, not using social media with my geo-peers, I’ve always had a lot of identity fluidity. Can you point to something inside your experience of your Self that feels gendered to you?
What do you wish you knew before coming out as nonbinary?
I came out to different groups of people at different times so there’s been a lot of opportunity to have forgotten good answers to this question. I wish I wore more sunscreen.
How has your life changed since you realized you are non-binary?
It’s been over half my life by now, so everything has changed! My friends are cooler.
What was the hardest part about coming out as non-binary?
To me, non-binary is the recognition that we, all of us, are born into our bodies and then immersed in a world that stereotypes and categorizes us based on a bogus preconception of humanity, built up with hundreds of years of garbage.
For a lot of us, the rules and roles get internalized without much fuss beyond the norm. Others of us struggle with that normalization.
What is your favorite thing about being non-binary?
Confusing people in public while shopping. Insulting the his/hers advertising that pervades consumer commercial activity.
What is your least favorite thing?
Living in a culture that genders everything from colors to areas of science.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the non-binary community?
There’s a lot of challenges but kids leaving their homes to escape abuse happens way too often.
What is the biggest misconception people have about non-binary people?
I don’t know what conceptions others have, honestly. It’s such a big umbrella that if you have a conception about all of us that’s probably wrong.
What do you wish other people knew about being non-binary?
What would you say to a young person who is questioning their gender identity and wondering if they are non-binary?
There are as many ways to express and feel gender, you ought to explore. Read a book or find community somewhere. There’s almost eight billion humans around, so you’ll have plenty of company 😊
What is one thing you would like to tell us about yourself, related to being non-binary or not?
Libraries are cool.
Ember Richardson Arlynx is a non-binary person living in upstate New York. They are studying computer science at Clarkson University. Their hobbies include reading, hiking, and tinkering with technology.