a non-binary person, qu’est-ce que ça mange en hiver?(1)

Publish in Gay & Grey Montreal newsletter – November 2022

I believe we need a bit of history around this new word describing a very old reality.

The word genderqueer originated in queer zines of the 1980s as a precursor to the term non-binary, which was used for the first time in an essay published in 1995(2); which were in their conceptual development at the time.(3)

In the past, non-binary people were referred to as hijra in ancient and contemporary Indian subcontinent, mahu in Polynesian culture, nadleeh for the Navajo.(4) All terms being specific to a culture, not necessarily interchangeable, even though they may share similar qualities.

Now, some used non-binary, genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, fluid as synonyms, while others prefer to be identified with one of them because of its nuances.

An example of those nuances:

If you are non-binary that means that you’re neither exclusively a man or a woman.

If you are gender non-conforming that means you visibly defy society’s ideas of what gender should look like.

You might be a woman, but present more as traditionally masculine, so you’re gender non-conforming.

But then there might be someone who is just neither a man or a woman, that’s person is non-binary.(5)

So, I invite all of us to be patient around this old reality evolving face, including concept, names, expressions, pronouns. To be patient, but also curious, engaged because this is not a trend. This is one of the manifestations that will help us reframe and liberate genders from their patriarchal and colonial limitations.

(1)what does it mean?

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To read my identity as a non-binary person/being, here’s the link