Hannah's Non-binary Care Guide: Part I
Maybe the term "non-binary" is new to you; maybe you've heard of it for a work thing but haven't met somebody yet; maybe you do know somebody but the idea is still overwhelming. How can you help this person feel loved? Accepted? Seen?
The answer is: it's different for everyone. But here are some examples of instances where I felt loved, accepted, and seen by my people.
When I got my job at UNC, I called my boss and asked what kind of support I would receive as a non-binary person coming out. The answer was amazing: full support from management. That has been exactly what has happened. With face-to-face interactions, emails, and introductions to new people, they have been so amazing in ensuring that I am introduced and respected for who I am. I can't thank them enough.
On a similar note, my teammates are rockstars. Even when people mess up my pronouns sometimes, they are classy: They apologize calmly and thank me for reminding them and/or correct themselves. One of the people training me acknowledged she was struggling to get my pronouns, so she went home and watched videos and let me know the next day - I teared up when she told me that.
In the event that someone forgets, my favorite way to correct people is as follows:
"That's Hannah. *** will help you."
"*** isn't doing squat, but they are happy to help you in any way they can!"
Another example of when I feel loved, accepted, and seen, is when people talk to me and don't bother attempting to gender my experience. I appreciate that instead of "you know, you've had this experience because you're a girl" But, "Hannah, what are your thoughts on this?" It may sound funny in print but those things happen all the time.
Some things I look forward to but haven't had happen very often:
1. Instead of assuming my pronouns, someone asking me. At work I have a giant pin with my pronouns on them so you don't even have to ask!
2. Someone introducing me with my pronouns. I also really appreciate it when other people correct my pronouns for others in conversation so I don't have to. It's such a relief when that happens!
3. Maybe instead of "girls night," we have a fun night out. I attended a lovely meetup the other week with Equality NC with people who had a beautiful variety of gender identities. It was awesome!
These are some moments where I have felt more comfortable. Thank you for reading this and being my ally! I appreciate you!
Now that the cat is out of the bag with my gender identity, here is a cat in a bag: