Be­yond def­i­ni­tion

Shak­ing off those gen­der la­bels.

Girlfriend - - CONTENTS -

Shak­ing off those gen­der la­bels

When Younger star Nico Tor­torella walked the red car­pet for the GLAAD Ris­ing Stars Grants Lun­cheon in New York, all heads turned.

Yes, Nico is se­ri­ously smok­ing. Yes, he’s the star of the best TV show RN (don’t @ me on this). But it was his out­fit choice that got all the at­ten­tion.

The ac­tor wore an in­cred­i­ble black Chris­tian Siri­ano skirt and top. When quizzed about it, he ex­plained, “This is more than a dress, this is po­lit­i­cal.” It’s po­lit­i­cal in the sense that Nico is lead­ing the charge on the non-bi­nary gen­der move­ment.

It’s a bit of a mouth­ful right? You might have heard of it in­stead as gen­der-fluid, gen­derqueer or third gen­der. But what does it mean ex­actly? In sim­ple terms, it’s about tak­ing con­trol of your gen­der iden­tity and los­ing the la­bels. For starts, ‘he/she’ is re­placed with ‘they/ their’. But it’s all a bit more com­plex than that so we break it down…

The big dif­fer­ence

OK, quickie les­son on sex and gen­der. Sex is the bi­o­log­i­cal sum of your parts: phys­i­cal anatomy, hor­mones and your chro­mo­somes. Gen­der is how you per­ceive your­self. In the West­ern world, sex and gen­der have gen­er­ally been lumped into two op­tions: male and mas­cu­line or fe­male and fem­i­nine. This is called gen­der bi­nary.

So what is non-bi­nary gen­der?

Non-bi­nary gen­der is when a per­son does not iden­tify ex­clu­sively as a boy or a girl. They might feel like a mix of both. In fact, some feel they’re nei­ther a boy nor a girl at all. Oth­ers might iden­tify par­tially with one or the other. And that can change from day-to-day and year-to-year. It’s all about gen­der iden­tity be­ing fluid.

How does gen­der-fluid look?

Well, gen­der-flu­id­ity doesn’t have a dis­tinct look. Nico wore a skirt down the red car­pet and a wed­ding dress for his gen­der-fluid cer­e­mony to Bethany Mey­ers, but he also wears cute-as suits. There’s ac­tu­ally no sin­gle spe­cific look. Non­bi­nary peeps have all types of gen­der pre­sen­ta­tions just like boys and girls do.

What’s next? The les­son on lan­guage

Not all, but most of those who iden­tify as non-bi­nary, gen­der­fluid or the third gen­der are more com­fort­able with ‘they/ them’ in­stead of ‘he/she’. Such as, “This is Mickey, they’re awe­some.” It might take a lit­tle time to get used to but lan­guage is al­ways evolv­ing and re­ally, so should we!

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