Friday, June 24, 2016

Define: Non-Binary

I'm an old programmer. I know from binary. I taught my sons how to count in binary, and they still know and use that theory thirty years later. But a year ago I had never heard the term "non-binary."

In case you are also unfamiliar with the term, here's what wikipedia says: "Those with non-binary genders can feel that they: Have an androgynous (both masculine and feminine) gender identity, such as androgyne. Have an identity between male and female, such as intergender. Have a neutral or non-existant gender identity, such as agender or neutrois."

My eldest grandchild identifies as female. When she was born (identified as male), we bonded fast and strong. I always said [he] held my heart in [his] hands. Now he is a she, and it has been very difficult for me to switch to saying she instead of he, and to see her experiment with makeup and finding dresses that make her feel pretty has made me sad. I wake up at two o'clock in the morning and lie in bed for two hours worrying about her future. Will she ever find someone with whom to share her life? Will she be able to get a good enough job to be able to support herself—and her family, should she have one?

But it is just not about me. It's about her. The very, very, very worst thing that could happen in my life would be for her to feel not-accepted and to become so depressed that she would feel the need or desire to kill herself. Without her in my life, whether in pants or a dress, I could not live.

So I am determined to be supportive. And she notices.

Just as her father thanked me for all the sacrifices I made for him when he was in the boarding school where he wanted to be, my granddaughter thanks me for all I do for her. She notices.

It helps when I read articles that indicate the world wasn't always binary. And because this reading has helped me, I'm sharing a couple of articles here with you today. If you're confused or skeptical, I hope you can find a little understanding in these pieces.

I have spent much of my life desiring to (and feeling like I didn't) "fit in" to the world around me. I didn't want my children or grandchildren to have to have those same feelings as they were growing up. But isn't it far more important for someone to feel they fit in inside themselves than to feel they fit in with judgmental, unloving, unkind people around them?

I could learn a lesson here.

Still so much to learn. My grandchild tells me, "I'm not non binary. Binary genders are male and female and I identify as female, so technically I'm still binary." I thought I understood correctly that it meant not traditionally male or female. Must study some more.

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