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What The Hell is "Gender Non-binary?"

Updated: Oct 25, 2021

A Primer for the Uninitiated


There's a few gender-centric buzzwords floating about the zeitgeist right now, and they might warrant a little bit of explanation if you're not familiar with them. In particular, people are using "gender fluid," "genderqueer," and "gender non-binary" to describe their gender identity (and I even see them popping up daily on casting breakdowns). If you're confused by what these words mean, I think the first thing you should try to understand is that there is a fundamental difference between sex and gender. Sex is biological anatomy; gender identity is everything else. (Or, as Kate Bornstein puts it: “Sex is fucking; everything else is gender.”)



I identify as "gender non-binary." Personally, I am not questioning my relationship to my biological sex. In more crude terms, my penis and I get along just fine, but I speak only for myself in this regard (not all genderqueer folks are the same). For me, my discomfort (or dysphoria) around gender arises when the culture tells me that I need to act, dress, behave, or see myself in any kind of specific way BECAUSE of my anatomy.


In practice, this means that I paint my nails, wear lipstick, and ignore department store signs that label clothing as being for "men" or "women" (i.e. "the binary"). I do not do this simply as an act of rebellion (although I do enjoy the middle finger it retroactively sends to my middle school bullies); I dress this way because doing so brings me closer to my authentic self.


 

Some people struggle to take the connection between fashion, presentation and identity seriously. They say, "Well aren't you just a man in lipstick? You're not some other gender." To those people I offer this little thought experiment...

Imagine an average, reasonably masculine, heterosexual American "man." Biologically he has a penis, and culturally he identifies as male. (Just for starters, what clothes have you dressed him in in your head...)?


Now take that same "man," and imagine that you have forced him into a H&M Summer Dress and a pair of kitten heels. How does that "man" react? Just imagine his anxiety, how he'd try to make it a joke or just plainly demand to take it off.


Now keep him in that dress and tell him to go do your grocery shopping... Something tells me you're still out of milk at the end of that conversation. You might say to the man, "Dude, calm down. It's just a thought experiment!" but nothing you say will make him genuinely want to do what you're telling him to do. And, in his defense, he's not being ridiculous. He identifies as a man, these clothes are at odds with that identity, and he wants to take them off. They feel wrong to him, and ultimately you understand the root of his discomfort without question.


Now imagine me. I'm wearing that same H&M Summer Dress and kitten heels (and it looks a hell of a lot better on me than that other gibroni). You don't need to imagine how I would react, because I can tell you: I want to keep it on. I'm not making a joke, and I do not feel anxiety (in fact, I feel considerably LESS anxiety). I feel neither like a "man" nor a "woman," and I don't think trying to answer that question will ever help me understand my place in this world or culture.


So... can you start to understand the root of my comfort without question?


6 Comments


Goddamn, how fucking stupid. It’s really childish. No one gives a fuck how you dress or what makes you comfortable or whatever dumb thoughts are in your head. I’m as liberal as they come but not stupid. If you’re a dude, i’m gonna call you a dude. So what? You’re not a girl. You can think or be and do whatever you want. I could care less. But don’t think I’m calling you a lady when you’re a man. All these other terms are nonsense and silly. They have zero meaning. You’re a guy that feel comfortable not fitting into gender roles and norms. I got it. No big deal. I’m Native. I don’t fit in this society either. I…

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If a man wants to dress in feminine gender clothes, there's nothing wrong in that. Bowie and many others did it in the 1970's.


https://dangerousminds.net/comments/david_bowie_pushing_around_a_baby_stroller_1971


Why should he have to change his sex?


The problem is why subsequent generations feel this has become a surgical issue. And sex needs to be denied. And that it's not just a form of human expression, regardless of sex and chromosomes.

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Renie Laster
Renie Laster
May 20, 2023

What the hell is happening to our WORLD? And has anyone ever bothered to read Revelations in the BIBLE ??????

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Replying to

The bible is made up drivel to swindle people. It’s nonsense. Utter silly nonsense to control people— guess it works pretty good because the world is full of pawns believing nonsense because they actually love being ruled by others. It’s simpler I guess.

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Brock Reynolds
Brock Reynolds
Mar 16, 2023

So help an old gay man out with this terminology... it appears that Gender non binary is what we used to call a transvestite? Is that about right?

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James Tison
James Tison
Mar 16, 2023
Replying to

So that’s actually not totally inaccurate. I make a joke about that in my stand up. I definitely would have identified as a transvestite in the 90s and then evolved to genderqueer or nonbinary. The thing about transvestite though is that it sort of excludes people who are assigned female at birth, who can also claim nonbinary / genderqueer in a way that they couldn’t claim transvestite.

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