Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
I’ve might’ve said this about 20 times on the blog already, but we really do live in such a progressive time. A lot of changes (good and bad) are being made, and a lot of our ideologies about things are not simply black and white anymore; instead, they are gray.
A lot of the gray areas that are now being discusses is the concept of gender. It’s always been that at birth, you were born as either a boy or a girl; penis or vagina. Many of us grew up with that ideology and when it was questioned (i.e. being transgender or dressing in drag), many of our younger selves mocked it. I mean, the Maury Show used to have a whole segment on drag queens trying to guess if they are a man or a woman? Don’t lie; your younger self loved that shit.
But, we grow up and we decide to start thinking for ourselves. We start questioning society roles and society’s rules about everything, and when you join a group that relates to the struggles you may be having as a person, you then finally feel like you belong in a community that is just like you.
I can only imagine how many guys and girls grew up feeling like something was wrong because they didn’t feel like a guy or a girl.
Although I am a cis, straight woman, I do have a non-binary sibling, and it’s been extremely hard to not slip up on their pronouns.
My sibling has been open about their identity for a few years now, and when the process first started to happen, it was really hard to accept just because on the other side, you feel like you are losing someone that you knew your whole life. While I am now more acceptive of the pronouns and become more aware of the non-binary ideology, it’s still a concept that you definitely have to train your brain to learn. Many of us do identify others and their relationships simply by their gender/sex, and when the person tells you it’s otherwise, it feels foreign. But, I know at the end of the day, it’s not about me and how I feel, it’s about what makes them happy and if they feel like they are finally being seen as them, then that’s all that matters about the situation.
It’s easier to catch myself slip up when writing about my sibling and using their proper pronouns, but verbally speaking it’s still a challenge. Yes, “she”, “her’s” and “her” still slip from my mouth when referring to my sibling. Yes, I call them my sister. Little by little I am trying to show my sibling that I am supportive of their identity and that it’s going to take some time for me to get used to their pronouns, but it does not mean that I don’t care or don’t listen if I slip up.
If you are anything like me, a person with a sibling that identifies as non-binary, then please be respectful of your loved ones who identify as such. I could only imagine how difficult it was for them to open up and discuss a concept that many of us are not familiar with and one that many people do not accept. Be gentle, kind, and respectful. Also, don’t treat them any differently! Just because your sister or brother uses the oppositely signed pronouns, it doesn’t mean that their interest and the things that bonded you guys in the first time disappeared.
We, as a society, have to stop thinking that male and female are forms of identity. Maybe they are to some but to others, they don’t mean a thing. No, your reason to not respect your child’s wishes to be called the opposite or non-binary pronoun because “you gave birth to a boy/girl” is not valid. Your feelings as a cis person do not matter in these situations.
If you truly love someone, whether it’s a family member, friend, spouse, whatever they are to you: you would accept them for all that they come. Nothing is truly changing about them, just their unofficial society-written concept of gender.
Love you, Meg. ❤