This week was a boom for articles covering non-binary gender. Normally I don’t devote an entire blog post to media interviews (though a few months ago I did list a project that spawned an onslaught of press), but I wanted to highlight these since they are exceptional pieces, going beyond most mainstream publications by treating the subject with respect, nuance, and honoring the uniqueness of each individual’s experience.
Legal Transition in Mexico
Radio Ambulante is a radio program featuring voices from Latin America. A journalist, Daniel Alarcón, was fascinated by the story surrounding my legal transition in Mexico (which I have yet to blog about in full). This interview is unique because it was conducted and aired in Spanish. You can listen to the original here. If you aren’t fluent in Spanish you can listen/watch a subtitled version here, or read the English transcript here.
When you see a person, how many seconds do you have to make a mental model? Immediately, the first thing you notice — man or woman? But I always had issues with my gender. And when people can’t understand, they get uncomfortable.
The second incredible part is that Radio Ambulante paired up with the New York Times Magazine for a series called “As told by.” While Daniel wrote Redefining Gender in Mexico City (both in English and Spanish!), he wrote it using my narrative voice. In fact, he was so on-point that two of my co-workers read the article and recognized me in it even before seeing my name at the very bottom.
Pues es que tu cuando ves a una persona, ¿cuántos segundos tienes, o milisegundos, para tú hacer como un modelo mental? Inmediatamente, lo primero que te fijas: ¿es hombre o es mujer? Y cuando la gente no entiende, se ponen incómodas.
I think Daniel pulled off something most journalists fail at: a complete respect of identity and subtlety in the message.
In Psychology Today, None of the Above Matt Huston lays out the basics of non-binary gender identity without overlooking its complexities. The article also touches upon the relevance of questioning the gender binary in general:
The existence of nonbinary people testifies that there are myriad, complex ways of conceiving of oneself. But it does something else, too, by inviting broader conversations about how everyone understands gender.
At a conference on children and transgender issues, Micah recalls, parents didn’t linger on questions about their children’s gender, the ostensible focus of the discussion. Instead, they pondered the gender stereotypes and constraints they encountered in childhood—as girls who shied away from science or sports, or boys who felt they couldn’t express certain emotions.
“Gender is part of your core identity and it goes unquestioned,” Micah says. “As soon as you start questioning, people break down and say, ‘I don’t know what gender is, I just know it’s there.’”
Transgender and non-binary gender identities are not just about our personal journeys – I sincerely believe they are going to revolutionize the way society thinks about gender. The more conversations we get started, the sooner this shift will happen.