July 12 - International Non-Binary People Day

July 14th is the day we celebrate the rich diversity and the lives of non-binary people. The term “non-binary” – sometimes referred to as “ebny” – describes someone who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary folks may identify as being both a man and a woman or as neither and fall completely outside the binary entirely. Many non-binary people also identify as transgender or this as a step towards transitioning, though not all do. We need to celebrate today because we need to raise the voices of those who identify as non-binary, bring visibility to them to allow for better representation in media and politics and ultimately allow them to life their most authentic and beautiful lives.

The History of the Non-Binary

Believe it or not, enby and transgender individuals have been around since the dawn of time. In fact, many ancient cultures and communities often revered non-binary and transgender folx as spiritual and community leaders. It wasn’t until the colonization of these cultures where humans become “gender-conscious” and created the binary. This, in turn, caused enby and trans individuals to suffer hands of their own community or in silence with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and gender dysphoria. In recent years, we have been seeing, loving and celebrating trans and non-binary folx more than ever – but we’re also stepping back in time with the bans and restrictions we are seeing on these individuals.

Being an Ally

Full disclosure – I am writing this as a cisgender person meaning I identify as someone with the same biological sex that was assigned at birth. I’ve never questioned my gender identity or how I expressed it. However, I have seen the impact of the struggle that my non-binary and trans friends went through in suppressing their identity or the verbal and physical harm they’ve endured while out. Being an ally is so much more than just accepting your friends – it’s accepting and advocating for everyone who identifies as a enby or trans individual. Using the term “they/them” isn’t hard and it IS correct grammar is you want to try and use that argument. Using the correct pronouns doesn’t hurt anyone – in fact, it gives the owner of those pronouns the feeling of being seen, of being human. Also, educate yourself. I am fortunate to be in a program where I have my classmates and friends describe their hardships and are willing to educate others and others who are tired of it. Because of this, I take what I know and what I learn and share it so they don’t have to (“Google is free” as they say). Have peaceful protests, call your senators, hold charity events, do whatever you can to make sure non-binary and trans folx have the same rights as us cisgender individuals. You may not win every battle with a person on the street, but you can save a life by being kind and accepting to… another human being.

Not sure you know what to say or do? You can also check out Amaze.org for more information. Sure, it’s kid centered BUT they explain it in the BEST way possible that not only a child can understand – but also an adult can use to better explain to someone else. Sometimes, simple is helpful. In this case, simple acts of kindness can be amazing.

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