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Non-binary and proud: Spreading our wings and rejecting societal boxes

The series of articles “Gender non-binary, but proud as well” is made with the idea of giving necessary space and platform for stories, problems and questions that gender non-binary people and their families encounter. It’s an important reminder that non-binary is much more than how the society typically perceives and defines it. Our society has pre-constructed boxes where they could put people they encounter. The same goes for non-binary people, and their box is what defines the rules for existing as a non-binary person.

Even from a young age, we’re taught to think in terms of boxes, where lives reside inside those small four walls full of rules imposed on us. I remember a scene from movie Prayers for Bobby, where the mother forces her son to live in a very narrow and tight space in the attic, on which walls, floor and ceilinge she glues citations and messages from the bible regarding how a man should behave. Well, that scene seems to accurately describe those boxes as well. The space inside it is suffocating and limiting, and the messages written on the walls, floore and ceiling do not let us breathe with our own lungs. And what happens when somebody dears to step outside the box and tries to spread the wings and fly, try to be free? Well, then society restrains them and tries to make them go back inside the box.

We’re flooded with stories of how our society is stuck in time in space, without any progress. Well, it seems that the progress is actually there, but only through the prismo of homophobia, misoginy, transphobia and racism (it’s important to name all of them, because one type of goes hand-in-hand with the other ones).

Our society has recognized that it cannot control somebody’s identity and divide us into two groups, so it made a new box under the excuse of tolerance and acceptance, and that very same box doesn’t have any goal, other than controlling identitities and its expression.

Thinking that arises from the prism I mentioned earlier doesn’t allow free thinking, instead it imprisons both people who think in normative ways, and those who don’t.

Heteronormative, cis, heterosexual society simply took over the role of defining identities of all people, including gender non-binary people, again under the excuse of acceptance and equity, while the reality reflects pure hatred and desire for control and power.

The mass means power in context of our society. To have such a broad spectrum of identities and people under control gives great power over individuals and their fates. Where does my stand and my analysis on this matter come from?

They come from the fact that many gender non-binary people question if their are androgynous enough, and if their appearance, behaviour or character are good enough for the third box of non-binary. Non-binary is commonly presented as something halfway from man and woman (we’re back to the primary boxes again), as something that has to look specific and has traits of both cis genders, or as something that roams between the to concepts.

The truth is that gender non-binary people don’t have to look the way society defines it. Freedom outside the boxes means to have a feeling of control over your own identity, which is the ultimate goal.

Are you even aware how things get easier when you regain control of yourself, without control from other people, without to pressure to exist in a specific way. I simply am and I simply enjoy being myself. There is no obstacle that can tackle me, those messages on walls, or even the walls themselves because outer space doesn’t recognize them. Contrary to control, freedom is motivated by love, it arises from equity and integrity. There are no prohibitions, boundaries, ceilings – just an open blue sky.

I hope my metaphors will be unedrstood, because the feeling of freedom is hard to describe. It has to be felt. And when you feel it, you simply never want to go back to that old box, you just wanna live and be free. Well, from these moments arises the revolt we have today, that’s when our restistance towards heternormativity and societal boxes wakes up. So, let’s go together to crush those boxes that suffocate us. Let’s give ourselves the right to make a door, get out of that old box and say goodbye to the normy the society imposes on us.

So, because of that, spread your wings and let yourself fly freely and enjoy being yourself. Submit yourself to the currents that carry you towards freedom. Be true and unique, be honest with yourself. Let yourself have freedom, the very same that society doesn’t allow you to have.

This article was written as part of the project "Access to Justice for LGBTI persons in Tuzla Canton", which is funded by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. The article does not necessarily express the views of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, but only the author


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