Non-binary in a Gender Binary World


By Se’an Mooney:

My name is Se’an Mooney and I’m currently studying at UWSCollege. I’m genderqueer. I am not male or female, I identify as in-between. I would like to discuss some of the implications of being non-binary and the Trans community’s standing within wider society. The article might seem a bit complex, but I hope you enjoy and learn something new.

First of all let me explain. When someone is born they are assigned a gender, usually, in most cases, male or female. This is decided by the child’s genitals. So I was assigned male at birth. But as time went by, and I progressed into my teenage years, I started to realize that ‘male’ did not suite me and perhaps I should have been born anatomically female.

I was oppressed about my gender through high school. I only came out to a few people. I graduated from high school and did the HSC in 2014 and at the end of the year, I changed my gender identity on Facebook to androgynous and genderqueer. Why didn’t I just move over to the feminine gender? Well I don’t really feel male or female, so I just thought I might hang in the middle, a fence-sitter of gender you could say.

I do feel, however, that my non-binary identity is unrecognised by other people. You see there’s gender identity which is how you feel and how your mind works, but then there is also gender expression; this is how you look and dress, how you present yourself based on the social constructs of masculinity or femininity (or androgyny). I do wear makeup, but my gender expression is still quite masculine and much to my annoyance people just see me as a male person wearing makeup, rather than a transfeminine non-binary person. But you know what? I’m not really ready to wear what society calls ‘girl’s clothes’.

One of the other hard things about being non-binary is that most people think that there is only male and female and that someone’s gender is based on their genitals. But that’s not true. There’s various gender identies out there; Agenda, Bigender, Pangender, Gender fluid……

And if we’re going to talk about biological sex, well that’s complicated as well. People who are born intersex exist as well you know. Biological sex is also about chromosomes and hormones. So seriously, think outside the underwear!

In order for a society to be diverse we need to be inclusive of various kinds of people and recognise and acknowledge their rights. For Trans and non-binary people there needs to be more awareness about us and we need to feel safe in public places such as public toilets. There also needs to be other options for gender on forms and medical professionals need to know our needs.

While researching and exploring non-binary gender, I’ve learnt about various gender and sexual identies and my eyes have opened up to a wider world. It’s sad to see that minority groups are still mistreated by more privileged groups. I think if we can work together we can decrease transphobia, sexism, racism and homophobia. It’s been done before.


IMAGE: Rainbow by Ray

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