Non-Binary Gender Identity: Understand Duality and Dissociation

With the growing conversation across the nation over gender roles and identity our populace is becoming ever more informed toward a post genital society where gender is no longer always determined by one’s anatomy. With shows such as Orange is the new black which features both transgender actress, Laverne Cox, and genderfluid, Ruby Rose, along with recent public spectacle from figures like Caitlyn Jenner the nation is becoming ever more understanding and accepting of transgender identity. However, much light still needs to be shed on gender identity, particularly in the realm of non-binary gender identities, as a member to this niche I hope to deliver my two cents on the issue as best I can.

27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – APRIL 02: Honoree Ruby Rose arrives at the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 2, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Non-binary gender identity simply means that the individual in question doesn’t conform to solely a male or a female sense of identity, transgender meaning that you do not identify with the gender assigned at birth doesn’t fit into this loose category we dub non-binary. People who feel their gender is non-binary may feel as though they are both, neither, or a mix of the two as Ruby Rose identifies. Despite the fact that if I had to choose I would say I most closely relate to bigender, or both, I detest labels outright. Labels carry preconceptions, for example, if I identify as both genders I must outwardly express myself both as a man and women whether it be through makeup, clothes, or hairstyles.  On the contrary, I tend to express myself almost totally as a man; my name is Peter, I have a handlebar mustache, and though I may wear women’s jeans from time to time, to make my butt look good, my wardrobe is nearly all men’s clothing. Rather than focusing on the labels prescribed by any community or organization I posit that we should all forget about trying to describe ourselves for a moment and focus on simply being, in other words, we should allow who we are and how we behave now in this moment to stand as the chief monument to how we identify. It is for this reason I’ve never been a big fan of the LGBTQ communities or organizations, the labels are in the name for crying out loud, organizations like this often make people feel that if they don’t adopt a label they way in which they feel or identify is illegitimate. The biggest thing that irks me about people’s reactions upon learning that I consider myself as much a woman as I do a man, however, is not when my outward expression confuses them, that is understandable, but when they merely write me off by noting that we all have masculine and feminine qualities within us. While I truly do believe that all humans have masculine and feminine forces, personality traits, churning within them and while I am no exception to this fundamental duality I am more than just a feminine man. Often it is hard for people not immediately familiar with the non-binary experience to understand the dissociation they exhibit from those who can conform to either male or female identity but never both. Not that I have any kind of major dissociative personality disorder, I’m completely sane and happy to report that whether I’m associating with male or female identity I am exactly the same person I was and have always been though I use the word disassociation in the same sense. In much the same way those who feel an association to neither conventional gender may, therefore, feel disassociation toward any sort of male or female identity. It is this feeling of disassociation that I think characterizes and legitimizes non-binary identity as something greater than the male and female duality that exists within us all. This duality, however, is still an important factor as it may, at times, be our only way of feeling connected to the rest of society and what instills empathy in us for any other human being no matter their so-called gender identity.

This duality, however, is still an important factor as it may, at times, be our only way of feeling connected to the rest of society and what instills empathy in us for any other human being no matter their so-called gender identity. In any case, the important thing to remember is not to put our faith in labels and societal constructs, these only limit us to the expectations of others. Instead, we should always strive to simply be ourselves despite what the opposition may tell us in order create a unique society where absolutely no one’s identity is constrained by the perceptions of others, a world where you can just be you.


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