4 Simple Gestures Allies Can Do to Create Safe Spaces for Nonbinary People
by Maria Romero, November 07, 2018 5:57pm
Art by Jessa Malapit
In this seemingly colorful age, creating safe spaces for everyone is at the cutting edge of social media campaigns and marketing conventions, but when we look beyond those things, are we really successful in making the world safe for all? We’re sure y’all are aware that gender and sexuality are wide spectrum but have you ever thought of including the genderqueers or nonbinary people to conversations?
Folx, we want you to know that there are simple gestures you can do to support this good fight.
- Use gender-inclusive language
First things first: Nonbinary people are those whose entire sense of self and experiences do not align with their assigned gender. Meaning, they are nonconformist who aren’t any less than those with solid gender identification. One of the easiest thing we can do to make them feel at ease around us is to refrain from using gendered terms.
The proper use of gender-inclusive language is significant in making life easier for nonbinary peers. In reality, a simple greeting that includes “ladies and gentlemen” often sparks a tinge of pang in a nonbinary’s chest. This may sound overly dramatic but gendered terms, no matter how harmless, can lead to an unwanted feeling of exclusion. Meanwhile, when writing about nonbinaries, we should be mindful of their pronouns. Despite debates over its correctness, it’s still safe to use the pronoun “they/them” to address them. But keep in mind that they can still prefer to use certain pronouns, you just have to ask them.
2. Never invalidate them for going through gender dysphoria
Gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition when a person feels that their assigned gender is not congruent with their personality. And it is basically what most (if not all) gender bender people struggle with. This is also the main reason why a safe community must be pushed for because transgenders and nonbinaries are at higher risk of taking their own lives out of sheer rejection. By all means, NEVER INVALIDATE them for feeling these things.
3. DO NOT, at any cause, insist that being nonbinary is a mental illness
If we think about it now, it all looks kind of absurd how a research paper issued by the American Psychiatric Association once listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. But luckily, modern mental health professionals understand now that being transgender doesn’t necessarily equate to being mentally unstable. Just because a person bent the gender binary doesn’t mean that they have chemical imbalances. Was it a person’s fault if they feel distressed about their gender incongruity? We bet not!
4. Stop saying that there are only two genders
Okay, if you're still insisting that there are only TWO genders, then please, come out from your hibernation because it’s already 20gayteen. As we’ve said it, gender and sexuality is a broad spectrum and even the colors of the rainbow wouldn’t be enough to represent it all. Putting restrictions to who can be nonbinary is as bad as giving limits to who can be man and woman, isn’t it? We have no rights to go around and tell people who they are and who they are not.
Let’s get SERIOUS about inclusivity
We are far from winning the fight in achieving total inclusivity for all that’s why we need to get more serious about it. Safe communities can go a long way not just in helping and supporting both transgenders and nonbinaries but also in educating the allies in all the spaces about LGBTQIA’s challenges.
We hope that as allies who want to actively participate in combating oppression and prejudice, y'all will still open your tables for intellectual discussions even without the genderqueers around. On any occasion, ask people about their pronouns in order to make even language more inclusive. By continuously educating, listening, and supporting, we will have the safest spaces and communities in no time.
Cheers to a more inclusive future!
The Manillennial Scene
at Your Fingertips
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