So as I mentioned in one of my previous posts about characters (male and female) that I want to see more of in media Non-binary and Genderqueer people often get lumped together with women. This is often done for convenience and because many of the struggles they face as a community mirror that of women as well. However, when it comes to representation I felt like it was important to give NB and GQ people their own separate post because they tend not to be represented at all. Just to clarify (and correct me if I’m wrong), but Non-binary/Genderqueer refers to a person who identifies as a ‘they’, a ‘they’ and a ‘she’, a ‘they’ and a ‘he’, or a combination of all three labels. The idea is that they don’t operate on the strict binary that men and women do. The terms can also refer to people who identify as another gender entirely. It can also be a spectrum. With that cleared up and without further ado here are the types of NB and GQ people I’d like to see in media.
- Historical figures: Humans are not a very original species. Despite the fact that we may have had different labels or societal expectations back then, just like with transgender people and people on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum there have been people who have historically identified as ‘other’ on the gender scale. These are stories that need to be told because everyone deserves to have an idea of where they come from and who shares their unique struggles. Just like no historical setting is complete without POC, the idea that NB and GQ people where just invented is preposterous.
- Supernatural/Fantasy/Sci-Fi: NB and GQ people are not robots, however, that’s often the one place you might get representation of other genders even in a genre that should be the most creative. And yet people also insist upon gendering machines for some reason. This is why (especially in Sci-Fi/ futuristic settings) creators need to branch out. In worlds with dragons and interdimensional travel, including vast gender representation should be one of the easiest no-brainers. Also as I mentioned in my previous posts I love this genre the most, which is why it’s more important for me to be hard on it.
- Slice of Life: I know this covers a huge genre/ variety of character types, but considering the fact that representation for NB and GQ people is very small this list kinda has to cover a lot. Also while the above category is my personal favorite I understand why people want more representation in realistic settings and why non-binary elves just aren’t going to cut it for everyone. There needs to be characters that look/feel like they could be your friends and neighbors because in order to build empathy that’s whats required. NB and GQ folks are real, they work in offices and go to the grocery store and seeing them do those things is important.
- Kid Programming: This category can encompass parts of the above three, but I want to end with kids programming because (as Whitney Huston said) “I believe the children are our future. Kids don’t need representation just because it’ll help them build empathy, they need to see other gender identities because it might help them figure out who they are for themselves. Growing up it was important to my mom that what I watched was intelligent and gave me good role models. I’m privileged in that I was assigned female by society and that’s what I choose for myself every day, but had that been different the only other identity I had any knowledge of was male. This strict binary for kids is often why there is some confusion when they get older and why (from what I’ve read) there are some transgender people who also identify as non-binary when they realize that it’s an option.
To wrap up- human sexuality is a spectrum and representation of that has gotten much better over the years. There’s much more work to be done, but we are starting it and that matters. However the work necessary with gender has been much more lackluster and slow, and I honestly don’t see it talked about as much in the mainstream. When I say I want more representation I want it to be clear that it goes beyond my needs and that this is how I believe everyone should approach it.
As always stay informed and be good to yourselves!! Also to add to this week I’m only human so please jump in if you feel like I’ve overstepped or gotten something wrong this is a community I don’t want to speak over or even for. I just think it’s important to use my voice to share what I’ve seen/heard/know.