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39 - Nonbinary Identities
Episode 393rd September 2021 • Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast • Stella O'Malley & Sasha Ayad
00:00:00 01:05:16

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With the invention of the term “nonbinary,” we’ve seen an unprecedented number of young people claiming to feel like neither a man nor a woman. Today, we explore Ian Hacking’s concept of “making people up” and the creation of new classifications and “types” of people. Several questions also arise: does a non-binary identification require medicalization? What personality traits may correlate with this identity and is it different in males and females? For parents, how might one respond when a timid child quietly says “No” to the “gender binary?” And what role does non-binary label play as individuals step in and step out of trans identification?


Gender Census:

Kori and Searyl Doty:

Jamie Shupe:

Jamie Shupe:

Lisa Shupe interviewed on Transparency Podcast:

Sam Smith:

Sam Smith and Alok: 

Alice Hope’s YouTube video:

Extended Notes:

  • Parents feel so old when the term “nonbinary” gets thrown around. What does it mean?
  • Sasha gives a bit of context and the definition of the word.
  • Nonbinary people have an element of protest. They’re completely opting out of the “normal.”
  • The term “nonbinary” really started picking up speed in 2014 and having it skyrocket in 2019.
  • Are nonbinary identities just a stepping stone into trans identity?
  • A lot of nonbinary females think they should have top surgery, which helps them with their image that they’re in this “neither/or” gender space.
  • Can you inflict your ideologies on a little child? Stella feels like the answer should be no.
  • There is controversy on listing two mothers or two fathers on the birth certificate. It’s a bit like stretching the truth/reality.
  • The average 14-year-old female calls herself nonbinary. What’s going on here?
  • Are our sexual differences causing distress among teenagers? Do they wish for a simpler time where none of this gender stuff matters?
  • It’s a bit of a confusing thing, you shouldn’t go by looks but a lot of these gender identities use looks as a baseline.
  • Can you be nonbinary while also looking very female or very male?
  • How do you know if something is a singular and not a plural when you’re using the “they” pronoun.
  • How do parents manage other children who are calling themselves they/them?
  • Sasha wonders if saying you’re nonbinary is due to some uneasiness that’s happening in their lives, some form of trauma or unhappiness happening.
  • Don’t hang back and feel like everything is fine. Lean into your child’s nonbinary discovery and ask questions.
  • You can partner with your nonbinary child and still make things feel safe and exploratory.
  • It’s really hard for adults and parents to call a singular person “they.”
  • Who was the first legally recognized nonbinary person?

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