Not everyone is educated about LGBTQ people or how to interact with us let alone the more “obscure” identities like Nonbinary. Of course, some people are going to be curious and want to ask questions. To those of you who don’t know much about nonbinary people, not every nonbinary person will be willing to answer your questions or be your walking dictionary — as that is a lot to ask of someone. It is also important to remember that all nonbinary people are different and will have different experiences of gender compared to one another. Even for those of us who are willing to spend the time to educate you, there are still questions that are just downright disrespectful to ask and things that are rude to say.
- Do not ask us what gender we were at birth.
- Do not ask us if we are “a boy or a girl.” Especially do not continue to ask this question after we have already told you that we don’t wish to share this information. A nonbinary person is nonbinary and that is that. By asking this question, you are essentially asking us what kind of genitals we have.
- Which by the way is also another question you should NEVER ask a nonbinary person, trans person, or any for that fact! Our genitals are not your business! That is a super invasive question to ask and is totally inappropriate.
- I would also recommend not to ask us how we have sex or anything like that.
- Honestly just use some common sense. Nonbinary and other queer people aren’t animals for you to gawk at we are people and I know that cis people aren’t asked these kinds of questions on an almost daily basis.
As for questions you should ask nonbinary people, I would say the most important one to ask is what pronouns they use. Like I said before, all nonbinary people are different, so we all use a variety of different pronouns.
Some of us use gendered pronouns like He/Him/His or She/Her/Hers. Some of us use They/Them/Theirs as a gender-neutral option. Some of us may use neopronouns like Xe/Xem/Xyrs or create their own. There are even some nonbinary people who use fluid pronouns and the preference they have for the pronouns you use for that individual could change from day to day — which is why I always recommend you ask! I would say almost all of us would be very happy to share our pronouns with you. If you are confused about how to use the requested pronouns, I would also say it is acceptable to ask the person to explain how to use them as that is much better than accidentally misgendering someone.
Most importantly, I recommend that you do your own research! There are vast amounts of resources online to use to educate yourself about LGBTQ people. Some very reputable sources would be GLSEN or the Trevor Project. There will be some bad resources as well, so make sure to check many different sources and a good rule of thumb is not to listen to those who call themselves “Exclusionary.” The name really says it all. Being a good ally for nonbinary takes a lot of work but these steps can help you get started.
About the Author:
Emil Tinkler is a 21 year old college student living in Central Florida. They are a gay nonbinary person. Emil is a psychology major and a humanities minor. They want to be a therapist one day and help trans kids access medical care, and they love Harry Potter, Bad Suns, and LGBTQ activism. Emil was Vice President of the LGBTQ group on their campus for a year, and will continue to keep activism close to their heart in everything they do.