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December 1, 2019

Non-binary, Non-conforming & gender Neutral bathrooms

by Lisa Koenecke

Welcome to the letter “N” in this week’s edition of my LGBTQ blog. These are terms you might have heard, if not, you will. Let’s nudge our way into the definitions…ha ha, that Never gets old! NEVER!

How many of you have ever gone through a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant? I loved taking my niece and nephew when they were younger. When we would order a meal that made us happy, the worker would ask if we wanted a toy for a “girl” or a “boy.” A heavy sigh from Aunt Lisa, every time as my non-binary radar was alerted. Can we just have a non-binary, non-conforming gender neutral toy? Gender binary is the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite, and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine, whether by social system or cultural belief. (Wikipedia,2019)

If you remember, I was an early non-conformer when it came to stereotypical gender toys. A tractor & my G.I. Joe were my favorites. Why can’t there just be one toy that ALL kids can play with? And how about not making them pink or blue? Boys can play with dolls and girls can play with trucks! Right? Think twice before you buy that baby a new toy, please?

Another truth about Lisa. I did NOT like wearing dresses nor the color pink. Shocker? So, growing up on the 70’s I was called a “tomboy.” My favorite role model was Peppermint Patty and her sandals. Why did Marcie call her “sir?” Here’s more information on why Charles M. Schulz added PP during the women’s liberation movement.

Non-binary is an umbrella term who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that is neither entirely female nor entirely male. It’s ok if you don’t understand what this is, I’m just glad you’re still reading! You’re an ALLY!

When I wear a tuxedo to a formal event, I am an example of gender non-conforming. The older I get, the less I enjoy wearing “left-handed” zippered trousers. Most of the world would know them as female trousers. I prefer to wear dress pants that I get at a thrift store in the men’s section. Have I lost you yet?

Lisa in her tux & her friend, Becky from Missouri

During my time as a middle school counselor, I had one student who identified as gender-fluid. I would greet the student at the door in the morning to determine their identity for the day. I would say, “Good morning, __________?” and wait for the student to give me their identified name for the day so that I would then send out an email to the student’s teachers informing them. That was a tricky one!

Gender Neutral Bathrooms make sense to me. Think about going to a concert, or an event in a big stadium. How long are the lines to the women’s restrooms compared to the men’s. If you haven’t noticed the lines, you probably haven’t stood in the LONG line.

As more people become comfortable with their identities, we will see the need for more inclusivity in the workplace. It used to be that middle school students would start by saying they were bisexual if they we’ren’t sure of their identity. Then the term questioning/queer came along. Queer is still here, most often used in genderqueer. Now, I believe more and more young people will identify as trans in the coming decade. As more and more famous people come “out” as trans, we will see more teens identifying as non-binary and non-conforming. As Rachel Maddow would say, “Watch this space.”

Thanks for learning more about the letter “N” this week! Please feel free to share this article and maybe save a life!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

Read more from LGBT Resources A to Z

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