I Don’t Identify as a Woman. Will the Women’s Movement Still Fight for Me?
Although many nonbinary folk support the women’s movement, they don’t always feel included by the movement. That’s why we need intersectional feminism.
When you are somewhere in the middle and different than most women, it’s hard to feel included in those perfectly catered categories.
A safe space for the non-binary is more important than ever now
Nonbinary genders are those that fall outside of the traditional “male” and “female” gender categories.
Let’s clear one confusion which may arise, though.
Non-binary can also identify as a woman or with pronouns (she/her) and that’s okay. Regardless, it’s always preferable to ask them ahead their preferred way of being called.
Everyone is either “designated female at birth” (DFAB) or “designated male at birth” (DMAB), and sometimes nonbinary individuals use those as identifiers. Other times you’ll hear a different term: genderqueer, or genderfluid, or pangender — the list goes on.
According the updated criteria for gender dysphoria in the DSM-V, the American Psychiatric Association’s classification and diagnostic guide, “transgender” now includes any gender identity not given at birth, encompassing nonbinary identities. (The fact that gender dysphoria is classified as a mental illness is problematic.)
The important thing to note is no two nonbinary individuals understand and express their genders in the same way.
When I came out as nonbinary in 2015 (I was DFAB but prefer the pronouns they/theirs), I was pretty aware of our erasure.
I personally experienced it daily; I’m a larger individual, and because of my curves, people often assumed I was a woman, never considering the fact that I might not identify as such.
Almost every form I came across had either “male” or “female,” or sometimes even “transgender male” or “transgender female.”
When I applied to graduate schools, only one application acknowledged gender identities outside the binary, asking what you were designated at birth and how you identified.
Sometimes I was merely reduced to my identity- a weirdo. Not that I’ve been called one to my face but it certainly felt that way.
Did you know about A Day Without A Woman?
It’s held on International Women’s Day and orchestrated by the organizers of the Women’s March. It highlights the importance of women in and out of the workforce. (Acknowledging that not every woman can just take the day off, the organizers also encouraged women to wear red in solidarity and only shop at small, women- or minority-owned businesses.)
I salute the organizers’ effort in responding to the criticism about trans exclusion at the Women’s March by explicitly using words like “women identified” and mentioning the disproportionate violence and discrimination trans women have to live through every day.
But… by focusing on a female identity, despite the movement purportedly being about gender equality as a whole, many nonbinary individuals who support the cause may still end up feeling excluded.
It’s fairly common that non-binary individuals refer to themselves with the pronouns (they/them/their).
The women’s movement is amazing and doing an incredible job at empowering women everywhere across the globe. Giving them a voice and urging them not to remain silent and compliant in the face of unjust conditions is just so important. But whenever I see a “the future is female” shirt, or drawings of uteri, or pussy hats, or “nasty women,” or even “nevertheless, she persisted,” I feel like I’m not included in this movement.
Some signs with non-binary pronouns and in support of gender fluidity would help many others like me tremendously.
For this Women’s Day, please consider your non-binary allies.
This post was written by our guest contributor, Jen.
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