And I know I am not the only person who deals with this internal struggle.

May 23, 2023


Jazzy Herrera

Doing my hair for prom was the last of my worries this year.

According to the UCLA School of Law, it is estimated that 1.2 million people identify as non-binary in the United States. “Nonbinary people make up a substantial part of the LGBTQ community, and they appear to experience similar kinds of vulnerabilities…,” highlights Bianca D.M. Wilson, a Williams Institute Senior Public Policy scholar.

Despite non-binary people representing a hardy population, we still face issues of visibility and validation. An anonymous non-binary writer for Stuff Nation summed up my dread quite well:

Other people should not feel the need to tell me that my identity isn’t real, that my experience is not valid… However, this is the society that we are living in, a society that has been created around the majority. A society that needs to change.

We, as a society, have not yet reached a point where members of the LGBTQIA+ community can feel comfortable and unjudged sharing who we are with everyone. Life today is very gender oriented. From how people view household roles to the blue and pink baby colors, society loves to put everything in a gender-binary box.

Meaghan Davis of Forbes expands on this issue in her article, “5 Ways to Deconstruct the Gender Binary in Gender Equity.” She writes, “There are many stereotypes associated with these two genders (women and men). To name a few, women always want to be parents…and they are too emotional. On the other hand, men don’t cry; they are the breadwinners…. These stereotypes put humans into boxes that only serve our division or our erasure.”

Forcing people to fit into boxes they may be uncomfortable in has yet to be challenged in our world despite its harmful effects. Much of my anxiety around sharing my pronouns with my extended family stems from my fear of being forced into these uncomfortable gender boxes. I identify as non-binary to break free of these boxes, so being pushed back into them profoundly distresses me.

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