The “I’m Non-Binary” blog post

Dear friends,

Earlier this year I came out to myself as a person with a non-binary gender, and have been embarking on the slow process of sharing this with everyone else since then. Some of you may know already; more will not. This blog post will hopefully serve as the quick what’s-what about my gender.

What the hell even is it?

A non-binary person is a person who is neither male nor female. It’s normally considered a type of trans (or transgender) because most non-binary people were assigned the gender male or female at birth, having to undergo a transition (which this blog post is part of for me).

There are many kinds of non-binary gender and people are still trying to find the best vocabulary for describing our experiences. I’ve taken to identifying as stellarian, or someone who feels like they have a gender that isn’t aligned towards any combination of masculinity or femininity, but I also use enby (just the initial letters of non-binary).

This isn’t a choice or a political statement or anything like that; it’s just a statement of who I am. I’ve known all my life that I didn’t feel comfortable or right being labelled as male, but as I knew I wasn’t female either I tried hard to fit into that box for a long time. It’s only by getting to know more queer and trans people that I’ve started to accept that my gender isn’t either of those things.

What will change?

Very little, really. I’ve always been this gender (even though I didn’t know it) and so I’ve naturally gravitated towards a life that’s pretty gender-neutral. I’m very happy with that life and I don’t have any desire for it to change.

But there were a few things that I was doing only because I felt like I should be doing them as a “man”. Most notably, my appearance. I never really cared much for my appearance or took much pride in it until this year, mostly changing things when other people told me they looked good. Now I realise a lot of that was my attempting to live in my birth-assigned gender. Now I feel free to look the way I want to, which means you’ll definitely see a lot more bright colours from me, longer hair (at least for now), painted nails and … when I dare … potentially makeup, jewellery and more gender-ambiguous clothing.

Being able to shake the desire to be perceived or accepted as male has felt freeing in a way I can’t describe, and a lot less scary than I thought it would be.

[An aside: I hear some of you asking “isn’t it possible for someone to just be a man who likes bright colours and makeup, who likes sewing and cooking and dislikes cars and sport?” And to that I say, “Yes. Yes it’s very possible, and many men are. But I’m not a man.” I just know it, deep inside.]

The one big thing that has to change is gendered language about me, and this is where I need your help. All of you.

What do I need to do?

I need your help to change the way you talk about me, to stop using language that gets my gender wrong. (This is called misgendering.) When people do this, it feels weird… like they’re talking about someone else, or they’re calling me by the wrong name. I totally get it if you make mistakes… really I do… but I would love it if you would all at least try to keep it in mind.


My pronouns are they/them/their/theirs. That means, where you’d talk about me in the third person, you use “they” where you might use “he” for a man or “she” for a woman. For example, “Did you read Rich’s blog post? They taught me some things I didn’t know.”

You probably already do this in the singular when you’re talking about “someone” or “anyone”. For example, you might say “someone’s left their milk in the fridge and it’s gone off” (a common problem).

[And for those who say “singular they is grammatically incorrect”, I highly recommend this excellent article from the Oxford English Dictionary. Or how about it being good enough for Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, even the King James Bible (Matt 18:35… go look it up if you like)?]

My name and title

I’m keeping Rich, for now. It doesn’t feel quite right but I’ve not found another name that fits… yet. What I have ditched, a long time ago, is a longer version of my name. It’s not sounded right for a really long time and I’m keen for it to be eradicated altogether.

I’d prefer not to have a title at all: Rich will do. If for some reason you find yourself forced to give me a title, I’ll go for the increasingly more common gender-neutral title Mx. If that’s not available, feel free to pick the most ludicrous one on the list. At least one website offers “Wing Commander” as an option.

Gendered terms

I’ve never felt comfortable when people refer to me as “dude”, “fella”, “Sir”, etc. (I’ll make an exception for the latter if I ever serve as your captain on a starship) or when people refer to a group that includes me as “chaps” or “dudes”. Again, my name is probably preferable, but you can also hopefully easily enough say I’m a person or use terms like “folks” the same way you would for any mixed-gender group?

Some notes

Please take my experiences above as being relevant only to my story. Every trans and non-binary person has a different story, a different experience, maybe even different pronouns. Please ask them for their stories instead of assuming their story is the same as mine, but also respect if they’re tired of explaining it to people.

If you want to read more about non-binary genders, there are loads of resources online. The LOTB Allies page has loads of links. If you’re in Leeds and you are (or think you might be) non-binary yourself, there’s an amazing support/social community and I can introduce you.

Thanks for reading!

~ Rich (they/them) xx

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