Many people struggle to understand the nature of the gender binary and the nature of the non-binary community. People constantly get confused and intimidated by people who challenge the idea of gender and gender stereotypes. Often, I find people looking to me for answers, which is quite ridiculous. The only part of the gender binary that I am familiar with is my own part, in which I am transgender and do not fit into the gender binary.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide all of the answers. However, with my limited knowledge I wish to attempt something. I want to try to create a metaphor that will perhaps make it easier for people to understand these issues. My metaphor involves the city and the country. I hope that I can do this in a way that makes sense. Let’s assume that the city is female and that the country is male.
There are people who are born in the city that adore it. They thoroughly enjoy the city life and are very comfortable with all that it has to offer. They find it to be particularly satisfactory and could never imagine living in the country. Let’s imagine that the majority of people who are born in the city never move to the country and are happy doing this. Much like the majority of biological females live as females and never feel the need to live as a male.
Let’s say that the majority of people who are born in the country feel the same about living in the city. They do not have any desire to experience the city life and so they don’t. Much like how the majority of males do not wish to live as females and so they do not transition their gender. In terms of gender, both of these types of individuals are referred to as cisgender people.
There are some similar aspects between living in the city and living in the country and there are also some very different aspects to both of these lives. Just like there are similarities and differences between the two genders of male and female.
Then, of course, there are people who are born in the city and desperately want to live in the country. This desperation varies from person to person but each one is sure that they want to live in the city. The same can be said of people born in the country who need to live in the city. Let’s call these people translocater individuals. Translocater people obviously represent individuals who are transgender.
Translocater people may forget all about their past life after they have relocated. Or perhaps they’ll still behave in much the same way while living in their new location as they did in their previous one. But regardless of whether they have relocated to the city or the country, they still continue to be the same person that they once were. They obviously should not be ostracised for relocating, much like individuals who undergo a gender transition should not be ostracised.
Finally, there are people who don’t feel any real desire to live in either location. They recognise that some people are country people and others are city people, but they don’t fit into either of these classifications. This does not make them unreasonable or weird or anything like that. It’s just the way they are. Much like gender non-binary individuals do not fit into either of the genders that are in the gender binary.
Some of these individuals wish to spend 60%-90% of their time living in the city and are happy to be called city people. Just like some gender non-binary individuals feel that they are slightly more feminine and are happy to use female pronouns. It is much the same for people who feel like they are mostly country people or like they are mostly masculine. That’s just the way that they were born and they can’t change it. Just like how cisgender and transgender individuals cannot change the fact that they were born that way.
Then there are people who wish to live in the city and the country for equal periods of time. They don’t wish to be defined as country people or city people. Why should they if they are not either of these things? This could be compared to gender non-binary people who wish to identify themselves using general pronouns such as “they.”
My point is that everyone has different preferences. It doesn’t matter whether a person’s loved ones believe that they should be city or country people, they are what they are. If someone wishes to live in the city, the country or between both, they should be allowed to with no restrictions.
We should not make assumptions that people wish to live in any of these locations. We can only be sure of the location that a person should be living in when they honestly confide in us. We also shouldn’t question why a person would prefer to live in the country or the city. But alas, most of us do.
I really hope that this metaphor makes sense to the reader. I tried my best to describe the gender spectrum as I understand it. Perhaps I have left out some important information that I am not aware of and I’m sorry if I have. I do not claim to be an expert on all of this and I would love an expert to weigh in if I have gotten this wrong.
Be kind to people who do not fit into the gender binary. For many people, it’s not easy and they generally face a lot of criticism for facts that they cannot change, especially those who are gender non-binary. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t be ignorant. Don’t be afraid of these individuals. Find out if and how you can help a person outside of the gender binary who is in need and do your best to be a support. Through doing this, we can end this constant idea that those who do not fit into the gender binary are unreasonable. In my opinion, having a gender binary in the first place is unreasonable.
Watch Why I’m Using Male Pronouns below:
Read my essay about the expectations that are associated with gender here.