On the exclusion and erasure of nonbinary people within the transgender community.

I’ve sat at my computer for days trying to write a blog post about nonbinary erasure within the trans community and the world at large and came up empty. I kept coming up short because WE keep coming up short.

We just don’t exist to most people. Cisgender people say things like:

Or

Or “not trans enough”.

“why do you have to invent new things all the time? Can’t you just be transgender and be a boy or girl or whatever?”

Transgender people say things like:

“You’re not really trans, because you don’t want to transition.”

These things often hurt worse than anything any cisgender person could say. The people who should be our brothers and sisters under the umbrella of transcending gender instead cast us out into the rain.

For some of our LGBTQIAP+* family, the problem is simply one of language.

You see, being LGBTQIAP+ is inherently political. It’s a fact, because our right to exist as equal citizens under the law was not automatically understood.

But just because being LGBTQIAP+ is political doesn’t make every LGBTQIAP+ person an activist.

Activists speak our own language; a polyglot(that means mish-mosh) of regular common tongue and socioeconomic terms with a healthy dose of political science and a smattering of philosophy for good measure. I’ve spoken before about the different way activists use the word “racism” and civilians use the word.

The problem is that within an inherently political group, like LGBTQIAP+, you will have activists and civilians mixing, and language becomes muddled.

love fury. young men and woman. shout.

You’re being problematic!! You’re being eracist!!

Activists THINK in our language. We see things written online(or anywhere, but since we live online, I’m talking about the internet) and interpret it the way we look at the world.

This inevitably ends up with comments like “ugh, can’t you take a joke?” and “Not everything is about that!” and similar things. I have managed to keep a rather decidedly un-activist sense of humor, and it allows me to see the clash from a unique perspective.

Saying “gosh, women drivers!” might get a chuckle from many men and a few women, but an activist will only see “ugh, such misogyny.”

Activists insert our language into such places in an attempt to educate and enlighten, but what happens is civilians who begin to understand then use activist’s language – but don’t have the ability to explain the terms.

In a group I admin on facebook not long ago, a non-binary youth presented a problem to the group at large. Now when you’re a sub-sect of an oppressed group, the number of civilians vs activists shrinks. This young person expressed their dismay at terminology appropriated by an entire separate group. If I seem like I’m being vague, I am, I do not wish to start a flame war over tumblr-based politics.

The terminology in question was pronouns, and the right to create new ones. This is a serious issue for non-binary people and for transgender people as a whole, and should be taken seriously.

12166185_532814516870878_1922154695_n

Yeah, I said it.

People outside of the binary gender spectrum are already excluded inside their own community; shut down, shoved away and made to hide in the dark. We’re told we’re not conducive to the cause; our pronouns are too complicated, our identities aren’t easily swallowed. We are made to feel invalidated and erased because we do not fit the horizontal activist’s truscum views on how we should look in order to “fit in” to society. We shouldn’t have to adjust to fit. We should be allowed to mis-fit. We are a society made of individuals, and everyone is entitled to their own expression and identity, and ours is no different.

I am not less of a person because my pronouns are not he or she. Xe is valid because it identitifes me. It inherently explains that my gender is not on the binary, and that I do not identify as a man or a woman. It’s pretty all-inclusive, as a pronoun goes… and so is Ze, Xhe and all of the other new gender pronouns coming into use.

OUR PRONOUNS ARE VALID. OUR IDENTITIES ARE VALID.

Gender identity as a concept is a social construct. But it’s one we’ve lived with for as long as humans can recollect… so allow us our seat at the table. Now, or when we take it by force. We’re not going to sit quietly in the corner any longer.

NON-BINARY IS TRANSGENDER.

I remain, when blood runs thin…

Faith Alana Alastair
F/P/CEO, Family Transcends
VP, The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement, Intl.

*I use the letters LGBTQIAP+ here for simplicity, do not cry out that there are letters missing. Missing letters include, but are not limited to: TS, Q, NB, GF. I am aware of several other terms, like MOGAI, and GOLBAT, but this one is easy and familiar for many people.

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About Faith Alana Alastair

36. Prez of Family Transcends. VP of The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement. Pro Piercer and Mod Artist. New Yorker. Queer Lesbian. Transgender Genderqueer. Autistic. Enlightened. Artist. Geek. Retrosexual. Open book.
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6 Responses to On the exclusion and erasure of nonbinary people within the transgender community.

  1. opalflame says:

    Greetings, thank you for your post. I am ashamed to say that I am vastly ignorant about cisgender and other terms within the umbrella and will most definitely start researching more about these topics. I also get very confused over the different terms. Context: I’m newly identified as a transgender (?) if that is even the correct term. I identify as being a male in a female body and have been slowly getting in touch with myself and what this development means for me. I began reading within the topic and quickly became lost within the swirl of topics, vocabulary, and diversity that I’m trying to understand.

    I guess what I’m trying to say, is thank you for teaching me something new. Do you know where I can learn more? Where/how can I gain clarity about the LGBTQIAP etc. community and terms and meanings?

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One would think that bi people would recognize this erasure behaviour from their fights with queer and straight people about the ‘validity’ of their sexuality.
    I am saddened if this is not the case. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course there are bisexual, pansexual gay and lesbian people who join our fight, and allies are always welcome.

      Too many do not. I posted a post this morning on another page I manage- about misogyny by gay men… and was horrified to see that a large majority of the comments were misogynistic and transphobic- from gay men.

      We have a long road. Thanks for your comment!

      When blood runs thin,
      Faith Alana Alastair

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Caleb says:

    THISSSSSS
    nonbinary IS transgender
    I’m so tired of people saying nonbinary is merely gender-noncomforming and ignoring the definition of transgender! “transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate.” nothing there about being solely binary!
    source: http://www.glaad.org/transgender/transfaq
    again, thank you very much. this must be screamed from the rooftops lol

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on Fairy JerBear's Queer/Trans Musings From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    I recognise that there is exclusion and erasure of non-binary people within some segments of the Trans community. It is quite evident in some places online. There is however, good news, in my little corner of the world we are incusive of non-binary people. I help facilitate our local Trans support group here in Santa Fe. A little over a year ago I went to my first meeting with some trepidation after encountering many of the issues raised in this post. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was welcomed with open arms as an agender person. I have found the same reception at our statewide Trans education, support and advocacy organization. Yes you have to speak out and make your concerns known but I have found the real world much more welcoming and inclusive than the online world described in this post. I am certainly doing what I can to be an advocate for genderqueer/non-binary/agender communities. Yes it is important to be knowledgeable about the issues raised in this post but also know many of us are doing what we can to create a non-binary incluse Trans community

    Liked by 2 people

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