Prepare for International Non-binary Day by learning how to be a better ally

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Non-binary people Ali, Kieran and Spencer | Photos: Supplied

July 14 marks International Nonbinary Day.

Calls for an International Non-binary Day began back in 2012.

The original post suggested July 14 as the chosen day because ‘it’s precisely in the middle between International Men’s Day and International Women’s day.’

It’s a truly deserved day for non-binary people all over the world to celebrate just how amazing they are.

There’s still a lot to do when it comes to the non-binary community however.

Most countries in the world still do not recognize non-binary as a legal gender, meaning most NB people still have a gendered passport and official identification.

There is some hope however!

Canada has already started offering it’s citizens the opportunity to obtain a non-binary birth certificate.

As far back as 2003, it was reported that Australians can choose to have an X on their passports, instead of the gendered F (for female) or M (for male).

There’s still a long way to go though, and it begins with each and everyone of us.

Ahead of Non-binary Day tomorrow, we spoke to three non-binary people about who is their best ally. They also gave tips on how everyone can be a better ally.

Spencer

Spencer | Photo: Supplied

Spencer says:

I think the best ally in my life is my girlfriend. I’ve a lot of non-binary friends so it was easy for them to understand but I was definitely terrified to tell her when we started dating because I just didn’t know how she’d take it! I remember telling her one night and she just smiled at said ‘that’s fine.’

We proceeded to have a conversation about what pronouns and words I’m comfortable with and what words she should use. Her immediate acceptance was everything I could have asked for.

Another great ally is my dad, he doesn’t understand really but he tries! I told him that I had gone to trans* group with my friend Jake and explained how I felt and his response was perfect. He said; ‘You don’t have to conform to anything you don’t feel connected to.’

I think being a good ally is just accepting a person and not trying to fight them on their identities, even if you don’t understand. If you struggle to understand what it means to be non-binary, try finding someone who doesn’t mind being asked questions and educate yourself! Always make sure to check in with people and ask for pronouns and just use and respect them

As an ally you can’t understand exactly how a person feels because you’re not them and you don’t identify that way. That’s okay! That’s normal. As long as you just accept that someone is NB and use the correct words/pronouns for them you’re already a good ally It’s just about treating other people with the respect and understanding that you want to be treated with.

Kieran | Photo: Supplied

Kieran | Photo: Supplied

Kieran says:

To this day my most valuable ally is ironically the wife of a church pastor. When I came out as non-binary she supported me with no questions asked. And she uses my pronouns to this day and is just wonderful. But the absolute cherry on top is when she introduces me to others, she’ll also explain my gender and my pronouns.

It’s weird, how affirming it feels to just be acknowledged on a human level.

As an ally, if you mess up pronouns, just correct yourself and move on. The bigger deal you make the bigger deal it becomes.

I hear it all the time, but it’s surprising how many times people blow it out of proportion.

Ali | Photo: Supplied

Ali | Photo: Supplied

Ali says:

One of my best allies is my college teacher. Someone in my class said something that kinda set me off. He basically said that I should be grateful that he’s using the right pronouns for me and it’s a privilege not to be misgendered. I went off on him. After the class she held me back and just kinda supported me. I didn’t see it coming at all, but she really surprised me with support.

I guess one of the easiest things that allies can do is to ask preferred pronouns, it’s just something easy to do and it just kinda lets me know that you’re chill with non-binary people. It always stands out to me when people put the effort in to use my preferred name and pronouns, no questions asked. It just kinda makes me feel like a real person.

I’d also ask allies not to pry, y’know. Don’t ask me why I’m nonbinary, don’t ask me to explain it. It’s kinda alienating bc it’s just a reminder that I’m not like a cis person. I understand that you want to learn and stuff, but don’t just do it in a normal everyday conversation.

I know it sounds like I’m slating allies. But I really do appreciate just having people’s support, and just being treated like an every day person. It’s just nice when people use the right pronouns, especially because I’m female presenting (I’m not in a safe environment to present otherwise) so it’s just really nice for people to just do it. No questions asked.

Responses have been edited for clarity.

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