International Non-Binary People’s Day 2021: Ways You Can Be an Effective Ally

| By Elaine Godwin

NGLCC will celebrate International Non-Binary People’s Day 2021 on Wednesday, July 14th and the beautiful, diverse community it aims to highlight! As raising awareness is an essential part of any holiday meant to recognize a particular group, education and support are the central ways that allies can effectively join the celebration. NGLCC invites its LGBTQ+ members and our allies to rally together in mutual defense of all non-binary folk and the validity of their gender experience.

Gender is not and has never been biological, but what else does that leave? Like any phenomenon, it is heavily shaped by societal norms and cultural notions, but gender for the individual transcends these hurdles. Famed scholar and theorist Judith Butler repeatedly described gender as purely performative, and it is something that each and every person continually chooses to do and be.  This upheaves the entire idea of the binary (male and female, typically) itself, and leaves room for a queering of gender--this is where non-binary people come in.

First and foremost, it is important to dispel any incorrect ideas surrounding the idea of being non-binary. There is no one way to be non-binary just as there is no one way to be gay; each person’s journey is specific and special. For instance, although someone can be both, being trans does not necessarily mean being non-binary, but many non-binary people may also choose to undergo the process of transitioning. Someone’s gender expression does not have to align with their sense of self or identity, including preferred names and pronouns. Overall, keeping an open mind is the best way to ensure that no non-binary person feels disrespected or boxed in by prior ideas.

Being non-binary is characterized by a blending of all genders while simultaneously having no “real” gender at the same time. Many non-binary people fluidly move between ideas of masculine and feminine, or occupy an entirely androgynous space outside of either of these realms. However, non-binary is above all else an integral part of who someone is, and should be respected as such. In preparation of this upcoming International Non-Binary People’s Day, NGLCC would like to offer some easy yet effective ways to support and celebrate the non-binary community and its amazing folks.

As discussed earlier, do not assume what it means to be non-binary.
This, of course, does not mean you are entitled to stay ignorant of gender queer issues and the non-binary identity. You cannot be truly supportive if you are not truly dedicated to education on important queer issues, with this being the first step towards that goal.  Simply open yourself to all possibilities, free from prejudice or bias, when attempting to be the best ally for non-binary folk.

Introducing yourself with both a name and pronouns is a great habit to develop!
Expressing one’s identity or pronouns when you are non-binary may be difficult or awkward, so opening up the conversation for this can take a lot of pressure off of the person. As we live in a very virtual world, this may be as simple as a social media or website bio including your pronouns, too. 

Support non-binary owned or operated businesses!
Many non-binary folk are discriminated against based on their gender identity or decision to use specific pronouns, and this sadly extends to the workplace in some cases. Financially supporting non-binary businesses within NGLCC’s  Trans or GNC certified LGBTBEs®  or beyond can make the difference in a queer person’s career or entrepreneurial dream!

Above all, be ready to consistently re-educate yourself on gender identity and gender expression!
NGLCC hosts many opportunities that are ideal for growing and developing one’s understanding of gender and the non-binary spectrum. Participating in even one of our events featuring non-binary individuals or businesses can allow for new ideas and new respect towards the community.

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NGLCC wishes everyone a happy and reflective International Non-Binary People’s Day. Click here for more resources on supporting TGNC youth.