My gender is non-binary
Although I have only recently had the words to describe my gender identity, I have always known that I was non-binary.
My whole life, I felt confused by my body. My feminine features have never reflected how I felt on the inside, yet, I never felt comforted by the idea of becoming a male.
I have embraced that I am somewhere in between.
If you have some questions about what that means, that’s totally normal! The National Center for Transgender Equality has some great resources that will help you understand.
My preferred pronouns are they/them
While I have used she/her pronouns for the majority of my life, I prefer to use the pronouns that reflect my gender identity.
When referring to me casually
I have not made a big deal about pronouns in my personal life because, to me, it’s not a big deal. I don’t feel misgendered when a co-worker uses she/her in reference to me in the same way that I don’t feel upset when a stranger sees my fresh fade under my snapback and calls me “sir.”
Both she/her and he/him pronouns are reflections of parts of my identity. But they/them feels whole.
For those of you in my personal life who feel comfortable using they/them pronouns with me, thank you. And for everyone else, it’s all good (really, I mean it).
Important note: While this is my personal feeling about pronouns, not all non-binary feel comfortable when people refer to them with binary pronouns. It’s best to ask them.
When referencing me formally
Beginning in 2019, I have used they/them pronouns in professional settings involving public speaking, podcasts, and publishing. I plan to continue this but with more consistency.
Please take care to use non-binary pronouns and other titles in all formal introductions and biographies for me.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Instead of she/her/hers use they/them/their (don’t worry grammarians, AP says it’s okay)
- Instead of woman use person or human
- Instead of wife use spouse
- Instead of mom use parent
- Instead of Mrs. use Mx.
- Instead of lesbian use queer
- Instead of daughter use child
- Leave ma’am out of it (and if you just can’t help yourself, go with sir to balance everyone else out 😉)
If you get it wrong, just correct yourself and move on. Skip the apology and spare me the obligation to comfort you in your embarrassment. Then, make an effort to get it right in the future.
Important note: While I personally prefer to skip the apology, for many trans and non-binary people, apologies are very important. If you don’t know for sure, a good rule of thumb is to apologize (“I’m sorry.”), then use the correct pronoun, and finish your sentence. The longer the apology, the worse it is for everyone. Be brief.