“You are trying to be ‘special snowflakes.’” “It’s just a fad.”
This stereotype comes from the idea that all non-binary/genderqueer identifying people are spoiled and only want to get attention by being unique. That is far from the truth. First, people who didn’t identify with the gender binary have existed throughout the world: hijras from India, the five genders in Indonesia and two-spirit Native Americans. Celebrities like Ruby Rose from Orange is the New Black are coming out as apart from the binary (for their case: genderqueer). To say it’s just a fad, denies the extensive history and wide reaching bending and breaking of binaries that existed throughout history and exists today.
“You’re just confused.”
That is incorrect. This notion likely comes from the confusion of cisgender (gender aligns with sex assigned at birth) individuals trying to understand trans people. Many trans people have found after transitioning and/or presenting as their preferred selves that they feel natural and validating while living in their previous presentation was uncomfortable and painful. Trans people may question their identities for a while and switch between identifiers but that doesn’t mean they are confused.
This confusion of cisgender people also leads to the feeling that cisgender people can refer to trans in whatever way they wish, even disregarding a trans person’s identity to instead use the one that the cis person is comfortable with. This is simply unacceptable. It invalidates a trans person’s hard fought gender identity just because of some ignorance and confusion on the cis person’s part. You should respect/affirm trans people’s and non-binary people’s genders.
(Note: Many trans people question their gender for a long time but if they tell you what they’re gender is simply trust that they know they best– even if the person telling you is your child and younger than 18 years of age.)
“Non-binary is a new concept.”
People who don’t identify with a binary have existed throughout history (ex. Hijras and two-spirits). The immigrant portion of the United States (aka. non-Native Americans) may not have always had the terminology or attention until recently. That is most likely why the notion that “if I haven’t heard of it until now, it must not have existed until now.”
“You all fit on a spectrum, from ‘Masculine’ to ‘Feminine.’”
Some non-binary folk find themselves on the masculine-feminine spectrum. It’s easier to explain in binary expression than with non-binary related terminology. It’s a very simplistic model to explain such an enormous number of gender identities and people. It isn’t surprising that many non-binary folk and some binary people don’t even fit on the masculine-feminine spectrum.
“You want to destroy gender.”
No, no, no, we just want to annihilate it….but really, this is a stereotype. Non-binary/genderqueer don’t want to destroy binary identities. They just want to have their identities validated which makes many people feel threatened because it threatens the binary. It does not threaten existing genders. If non-binary/genderqueer identities are accepted/validated then it would only expand gender identity objections.
“Your pronouns are ridiculous.”
Pronouns are a way of respecting and validating a trans person’s identity. To say it’s ridiculous, is like saying washing your hands is ridiculous. To not respect someone’s pronouns, is like saying their identity doesn’t actually exist and on the non-binary person’s end, can ruin a person’s day.
“Non-binary people can’t medically transition.”
Non-binary folk have as much as a right to transition as any binary gender identity. They can be as uncomfortable with their body as any binary trans person. Non-binary folk may not have genitals, sex organs and hormones assigned to their gender from a sex, but doesn’t mean that they can’t medically transitioning.
Non-binary experience a variety of feelings about transitioning as well. Some non-binary people want chest surgery, others want to have chest and bottom surgery, and others aren’t satisfied with the transitioning options right now.
This misconception likely comes from the idea that each sex has a direct correlation in gender. If male means you are going to be a man and female means you are going to be a female, then the conclusion with that logic would be that if you are intersex then you are going to be non-binary.That is not the case. As we see with trans people, just because a doctor arbitrarily decides your genitals are within the range of a male or female, they can’t predict your gender. It is the same with intersex people.
“You don’t experience trans oppression.”
Non-binary oppression comes from the forced conformity into the binary gender expectations. They suffer from anti-trans bias and are at higher risk for discrimination and violence than binary trans counterparts. It may not seem like it but binary trans people have privileges that non-binary trans lack. They can have their gender perceived and validated, unlike non-binary folk who always have to correct pronouns, misgendering and experience significantly less validation of their gender (ex. Segregated restrooms).
- Unemployment 76% genderqueer vs. 56% binary trans
- Physical assaults 32% genderqueer vs. 25% binary trans
- Harassment by law enforcement 31% vs. 25%
- Forgo health care treatment 36% vs. 27%
- Involved in drug sales, sex work, underground economics 20% vs. 15%
- Suicide 43% genderqueer vs. 40% binary trans
In addition, many states who offer Informed Consent for transitioning procedures will refuse medical transition related care to non-binary folk. This forces non-binary folk to suppress their identity to get treatment or declare themselves as binary.
“Only female sex assigned at birth and intersex people can be non-binary.”
That is a misconception. Your sex assigned at birth does not determine your gender. Your genitals, chromosomes, hormones, sex organs and secondary sex organs do not determine your gender or prevent you from being a particular gender. A person assigned male at birth has the potential to be non-binary as any female or intersex assigned at birth.
Note: Non-binary and genderqueer are used synonymous in this context.
~ ~ ~