I´ve been mulling over what it means to be non-binary for a long time now. It all started while I binged Sofie Hagens´ and Jodie Michels´ Secret Dinosaur Cult podcast last year during Spanish quarantine which is a kind of weird but amazing podcast hosted by two non-binary queers. They talked a lot about what the term meant to them and how they both came to their separate conclusions that they were non-binary and it triggered in me about a week long serious introspection where I wondered if I was, in fact, non-binary.
I often feel quite masculine and have had two very strange (both drug induced) experiences when I felt like a man, and wondered if that meant I was non-binary.
I thought about the fact that I love dresses and the colour pink.
I thought about the fact that I have a very weird desire to constantly compete against and be better than men.
I worried that because I like to sit with my legs all splayed out like I have massive balls and one day want to be CEO of a company that I was, in fact, part man.
I agonised over my love of flowers, cooking and empathising and thought, I must be all woman.
Then I wondered if my complex personality with a mix of masculine and feminine traits would mean I had to tell my friends to refer to me as they / them.
And I realised I didn´t want that.
As clearly as I wished I was a lesbian while I was still deep in the closet of denial during university, I wished to be female. And that´s how I knew I was female. Because I wanted to be.
And I realised that it really IS that simple. If someone WANTS to be a boy or a girl or neither or both or somewhere in between, it means that they already are.
I did a whole lot of engaging with media non-binary people while I was in my week-long, introspective hole, and I realised that there are lots of ways to be non-binary. And that no two non-binary people will have the exact same experience with their gender.
For a while, I really rebelled against the idea of a binary at all. I got so deep that I started to wonder if gender even existed. Aren´t we all just humans with complex lives, bodies and personalities existing along a spectrum of emotions and preferences? Why do our preferences for certain types of clothes, colours, hobbies mark us out as belonging to one group or another. It made no sense to me.
But then I thought about trans people. People who know so strongly what their gender is that they risk their entire lives to be who they truly are. I thought about people who present aesthetically like a gender they weren´t assigned at birth, but still identify as the same gender as their sex. I thought about people born with chromosomal differences whose sex doesn´t fit male or female, who still have a gender.
Gender does exist. The binary doesn´t. And we really need to stop gendering non alive objects and interests. Books and clothes and colours and smells and sewing and football don´t have genders. They are things. They do not have identities and feelings and experiences.
They do not have a gender.
I do have a gender, I am a woman.
I am a woman who rebels against the binary.
I am a woman who rebels against the gendering of objects and things.
I am a woman who is open to learning about all the interesting genders and experiences that exist outside my extremely narrow and limited life experience.
And I am a woman who is open to being wrong and to being corrected.
So to conclude, rather than non-binary being a gender in itself, I think it is an umbrella term for all the genders and experiences that are felt in this life to which we don´t have the vocabulary. It´s for all the people who never felt at home in the gender assigned to them at birth and for all the people who want to rebel against the binary. It´s for all the people who like existing outside of societal expectations. But more than any of that stuff, it is for all the people who choose to call themselves non-binary.