14th July is International Nonbinary People’s Day, where we celebrate the contributions and resilience of millions of nonbinary people worldwide. In loving recognition of our nonbinary siblings here at Kent, we’ve compiled a list of 4 ways to be better allies to the nonbinary community this year!
Nonbinary people do not identify with the binary distinctions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’. Though many nonbinary people share some characteristics which are traditionally ‘manly’ or ‘womanly’, they do not identify with either gender.
Far from being a modern ‘fad’, nonbinary people have existed in a number of societies and cultures – the gender binary does not exist at all in many places around the world, and nonbinary individuals have often been worshipped and revered.
Unfortunately, nonbinary people are facing an increasingly bleak picture in the UK: 80% of nonbinary people have reported poor mental health in recent years, while over 30% have reported being the victim of physical harassment. This is why it’s more important than ever to be a good ally to the nonbinary community.
Here are 4 super-helpful tips for getting started!
- Language is important. Implicit in the language we use day-to-day, whether we realise it or not, are certain assumptions that shape the way we think and communicate. These assumptions are reflections of structures of power in our society. By using ‘he’ or ‘she’ to address a man or a woman, we are legitimising their gender identity. This is why it’s important to respect the pronoun decisions made by a non-binary person, more often than not by using ‘they/them’ and trying where possible to use gender-neutral language to refer to people you don’t know.
- When highlighting LGBT+ role models and icons, make sure to be diverse in your selection, and include nonbinary people as well!
- Make sure to be an intersectional ally, and actively campaign for the safety of nonbinary refugees and asylum seekers, disabled nonbinary people, nonbinary people of colour, as well as other minority nonbinary people in the UK and abroad.
- Be kind, and always try to be understanding! Lots of individuals relate to their gender in different ways, it’s part of what makes us human, and giving people space and respect to work this out for themselves is the best thing you can do for your nonbinary friends and colleagues!
Happy International Nonbinary People’s Day!
Blog post by Alex Charilaou